Beads of Courage®
The Beads of Courage® programme provides a physical story of a child’s journey, recognising their strength and courage.
The Beads of Courage® programme provides a tangible story of a child’s journey, honouring their strength, courage and resilience.
Each bead represents the courage shown during a treatment (for example, chemotherapy, injections, scans), an experience (hair loss, isolation, fever) or milestone (completion of treatment).
The first bead each child receives from their Family Support Coordinator is a hand-carved pounamu bead from Ngāi Tahu Pounamu. These beads are unique to the programme in New Zealand and are hand-carved by eight different Ngāi Tahu carvers.
Parents use Beads of Courage® to reflect on their child’s journey. The physical representation of each procedure and milestone allows them to see how far they’ve come as a family and can give them the strength to get through any future challenges.
For the children who sadly lose their lives to cancer, a butterfly bead is given to their parents. The Beads of Courage® are a keepsake of their child’s journey and a reminder of their strength and courage. Many families choose to display the beads at their child’s funeral, and some have used them to make individual keepsakes to give out to friends and family members as a way to remember their child.
Brothers and sisters of children with cancer can also participate in the Beads of Courage® Sibling Beads Programme. This programme provides recognition and support of their emotional journey, focusing on a variety of themes to encourage communication and healing opportunities.
Families can find out more about the Beads of Courage® programme from their Family Support Coordinator.
If you are wondering how to display or safeguard your child’s beads, read our blog post about capturing the meaning of the Beads of Courage® after treatment ends.
BEADS OF COURAGE® is a federally registered trademark of Beads of Courage Inc. and is used under licence. We are proud to provide the BEADS OF COURAGE® program, which is owned by and licensed from Beads of Courage, Inc. dba Center for Arts in Nursing. For more information on BEADS OF COURAGE®, visit: www.beadsofcourage.org
Can You Help?
We need some more amazing bead artists!
If you are a bead artist, or know someone who is, please consider donating lamp-worked beads to our Beads of Courage® programme. We accept any undamaged beads - any colour/shape, misshapen, orphaned or those not sold.
Please get in touch with our programme coordinator, Shirlee Wilton, at CourageBeadArtists@childcancer.org.nz.