Children with chronic and/or serious illnesses now have a support program at Mercy Children’s Hospital to help them cope. The Beads of Courage program, which kicked off in December at Mercy Children’s, helps honor and acknowledge each step of a child’s treatment journey giving them strength to make it through treatments and to tell their unique story of courage.
At Mercy Children’s, the program is available for children receiving care and treatment, mostly focused on infants and kids with long-term illnesses. Beads are given according to a specific program bead guide with certain colors designated for specific treatments or procedures. For milestones along the way, patients receive handmade, one-of-a-kind glass beads that are donated by members of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB).
“Dealing with a serious or chronic illness can be challenging, especially for children,” said Christine Crain, senior vice president at Mercy Children’s Hospital. “We are excited to offer the Beads of Courage program to our patients and families. It gives these children visible recognition for the courage they have demonstrated in dealing with the untimely challenges of a health care journey at such a young age.”
The Beads of Courage program was founded in 2004 by Jean Baruch, RN, a pediatric oncology nurse who was inspired to care for children and their families with an arts-in-medicine program. It is currently offering support at more than 100 hospitals throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Mercy Children’s Hospital is the first hospital in the St. Louis area to offer this unique program.