Feb 7, 2012 6:00 PM
TUCSON - They may look like simple beads but for patients at Diamond Children's, and their families, they are signs of strength and triumph. It's all part of the hospital's Beads of Courage program.
Diamond Children's is one of more than 100 hospitals around the world to join the program. It is a way to help kids mark major milestones in their treatment and share their stories. On Tuesday, the Kiwanis Club sponsored a launch party so that all children getting treatment for chronic illness at Diamond Children's could be enrolled in the program.
The way it works is simple, each bead represents a step in the child's unique treatment process. For example a red bead marks a blood transfusion, a black one marks a needle prick.
Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bell is a hematology patient, and after 17 years of treatments, she has earned more than six pounds of beads.
"It reminds me of just how lucky I am to still be here and how much of a story I have," Bell said. "It's really cool to look at the beads and even though I don't remember it, I have a reminder."
This international program has deep local ties. Founder Jean Baruch came up with the idea while working on her PhD in Nursing at the University of Arizona. To learn more about Beads of Courage, just click here.