TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -To some, it's just a tiny bead. To thousands of children fighting for their lives, it stands as a symbol of hope. The beads of courage program started here in Tucson. The program helps young patients symbolize their treatment journey by providing them with art-in-medicine therapy.
"Every chemo therapy they get a white bead, every time they spend a night in the hospital they get a yellow bead," said executive director, Jean Gribbon. "There's 18 different beads that we give as a form of narrative medicine that helps them tell their story."
The program serves more than 300 hospitals in eight different countries. Here in Tucson, nurses at Banner UMC and Tucson Medical Center personally deliver the beads to their patients as a way of rewarding kids of every age for sticking through the pain.
"Children in Beads of Courage quite honestly can say 'every bead on my strand is something that's been painful or uncomfortable or my normative life has been disrupted in some way."'
But, it's not just for the patients. Sean Morgan lost his younger sister, Dana, to Lukemia last year. While his sister battled cancer, the program helped Sean collect his own beads and continues to help him live in her honor.
"As a sibling I always felt like I was kind of in the shadows," said Sean. "Like all the attention was around my sister and it just kind of helped me feel like I'm still important."
On any given day, 60,000 kids worldwide participate, telling the world their story, one bead at a time.
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