With Beads of Courage, Mary Bridge kids tell stories of strength
On a long and colorful necklace, each bead tells a story.
At Mary Bridge for treatment of Hodgkins Lymphoma, 7-year-old Ethan Goozovat rolls the beads between his fingers and explains the meaning of each color.
Orange is for central line placement.
Yellow is for each inpatient admission â€“ a â€śsleepoverâ€ť at the hospital.
White is for chemotherapy.
Ethan has 44 white beads.
â€śI love 'em so much,â€ť Ethan says of the beads that fill three strands around his neck. â€śThey mean courage and braveness.â€ť
Aaron was 26 years old when he died April 2, 2007 after a yearlong battle with colon cancer. Aaron lived in Tacoma and volunteered with young oncology patients at Mary Bridge - he loved pulling Bingo balls on Thursday nights.
â€śThe beads are beautiful and unique - they provide color in an otherwise gloomy situation,â€ť Quinn said. â€śThey are simple tokens that recognize and celebrate success, strength, and perseverance. I only hope that Beads of Courage brings joy and fosters pride in ill children. Aaron changed many lives, and I aspire to live my life as completely, as positively, and as courageously as Aaron lived his. My family and I hope that Beads of Courage will inspire ill children to stay positive, celebrate success, and continue living life to its fullest.â€ť
Stories of strength and courage
Each young patient receives a â€śBeads of Courageâ€ť kit that includes a â€śDaily Bead Journalâ€ť to track their experiences. There are about 35 beads that represent milestones, procedures and acts of bravery. Every bead tells a story of hope, strength, and courage.
â€śItâ€™s a way for them to share their story however they want,â€ť said Julie Hertzog, Certified Child Life Specialist at Mary Bridge. â€śThe people who participate love the program.â€ť
The Hilltop Artists glass program in Tacoma even donated 900 â€śAct of Courageâ€ť beads. An â€śAct of Courageâ€ť bead symbolizes a time when a child showed remarkable strength. For one girl, that meant asking to shave her head before the chemotherapy had a chance to steal her hair. For another child, that meant dealing with the death of a pet dog.
If you know of a young patient who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness who may be interested in the Beads of Courage program encourage them to talk with their Mary Bridge Outpatient clinic staff about getting enrolled. Check out www.beadsofcourage.com for more information about the national program.
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