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Eat Happy!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beads of Courage

This post is about the Beads of Courage (BOC) program........ Specifically, my son Ian's Beads from a Distance BOC program.  BOC is a non-profit organization helping children see and tell their medical journeys.  I am not an ambassador or employee for the program, nor do I own any copyrights to the logo or bead-significance relationship.  Therefore, I have attached a BOC logo to each photograph of my son with his beads, as well as the BOC themselves.  These are Ian's beads, but they are all from the BOC program.  All rights to beads photographed go to BOC.

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Ian was recently accepted into the Beads of Courage - Beads from a Distance Program. Beads of Courage is a company created by a pediatric oncology nurse named Jean Baruch. She found children had a love for beading and decided to create a wonderful program that helps children visualize their milestones, procedures, and acts of bravery. The beads are a beautiful way to show their past, but also gives them courage to encounter even the toughest medical challenges. The beads give children the chance to see, own, and tell their stories.

Beads of Courage is a non-profit organization. They have served over 10,000 children in over 60 hospitals. Even Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Ireland have beads. The company is funded by private donations. The program covers pediatric cancers, blood diseases, cardiac conditions, burn injuries, ICU and NICU families, and also chronic illnesses. Ian falls into both the NICU and chronic illness families.


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IN THE BEGINNING

The strand begins with a Beads of Courage (BOC) bead and the child’s name. Ian really enjoyed spelling his name on his strand. The program also supplies each child with a bag for their Beads of Courage.




CATEGORIES

There are many categories of beads, including needle sticks, tests and procedures, x-rays, doctor’s visit, therapies, chemo, hospital admissions, surgeries, and biopsies. There is even a category for dressing changes. We use this category for all of Ian’s tube IV gauze changes. We need to clean his button once or twice a day and change the gauze to prevent leakage irritation and granulation tissue. There are even beads for traveling to receive medical care. The ER/ambulance beads are pink and are Ian’s favorites.

** some of Ian’s special selection beads **












NICU admission bead: A turtle moves slowly and cautiously through life, carrying its home on its back.  While in the NICU, think of the turtle as YOUR symbol of protection - a symbol of safety when you need extra courage.

NICU discharge bead: On this momentous day, the dove is here to offer gentle, peaceful and constant support as you go home.  Reflect on this bead when you need a little courage and hope.

Fish bead: Just like fish that travel far through lakes, rivers, and oceans, you Fish bead is a symbol of the courage you too must have as you travel far away from the comforts of your home to get treatment, and to symbolize the upstream battles you face.

Survivor bead: This Bead of Courage honors YOU as a survivor.  A heart to remind you of all the love and compassion shown to you throughout treatment and in the years to come, a spiral to honor continuation of life and an anchor which is the universal symbol of hope-honoring hope for the future.

Courage bead: In honor of your courage, and filled with hope and strength.  Handmade for you by an artist of he International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB).




ACTS OF COURAGE & SPECIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

There are also beads for Acts of Courage and Special Accomplishments. Ian’s include milestones such as:

* going one year without using his feeding tube
* helping another little girl in the ER
* having an IV placed without crying
* the first time he helped to draw up his own medicine
* the first time he helped change his G tube dressing
* the first time he helped to prepare his “super juice” growth hormone supplies 

These beads are specially selected by the volunteers. They are a surprise when they arrive. The beads are given to signify large accomplishments in medical care, of both physical bravery and courage of character.





THE 100 BEAD CLUB & BACKDATING

There are also “100 bead club” beads. For every 100 beads, a child receives a “100 bead club” bead. These beads signify major accomplishments in the longevity of their medical care. BOC does not backdate for their new members. When a new member is accepted mid-treatment, just like Ian, a bead for each “tally” is not given. Rather, a bead is given for each category in which a tally submission is made.

When we received Ian’s paperwork, we added up all the tallies for each category. We then sent BOC that complete list of tallies. BOC sent Ian a bead for every category in which we submitted a tally. However, they do backdate by “100 bead club” beads. Since we submitted 4700+ tallies, they sent Ian 48 “100 bead club” beads. They are pretty floral and swirly beads. Ian was very excited about them. He wanted to make sure they all went on the strand grouped by type/color.





SHOWING THEM OFF

When all was said and done with stringing the beads...... Ian was more than happy to show them off!





IAN’S STRANDS OF BEADS- Beads of Courage




BEADS OF COURAGE......................

The Beads of Courage - Beads from a Distance program does have a waiting list. Since they run completely off of donations, and have so many children in the program, it does take time to join. Ian was on the waiting list for about four months. I DO NOT know the typically waiting time. The best thing is to contact the company and speak with someone.





















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