Christy Puetz, representing Beads of Courage, spoke at the June 1 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Sun City West. Beads of Courage is a Tucson-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and teens coping with serious illness, their families and the clinicians who care for them through various arts-in-medicine programs.
Started in 2003 at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, as a pilot program, it is now in more thab 240 hospitals worldwide with more than 75,000 children under treatment.
The program is carried out by trained nurses, social workers and doctors. Beads of Courage helps children record, tell and own their stories of courage through the use of colorful beads that honor their courage and acknowledge each step of their treatment journey. Just like medals, ribbons and certificates, many ancient and modern-day cultures use beads to show bravery and accomplishments. In many societies, beads are believed to carry protective and healing powers.
Beads are given to children to acknowledge courage displayed during treatment or when a defining milestone is reached. Each type of treatment a child undergoes is designated by a special color or shaped bead. Some of the various beads represent tube placement, test/scan, line placement, chemotherapy/immunization, hair loss, dressing changes, transfer to PICU, radiation, and infusions to mention just a few. An average cancer treatment cycle involves a children receiving over 500 different beads. Parents of children that have passed away receive a special glass butterfly bead in memory of their child.
None of the beads are commercially available to the general public. Many of the beads are manufactured in large quantities while others are handmade by a variety of artisans. Beads of Courage is a member of International Society of Glass Beadmakers.
At the end of Ms. Puetz’s presentation, Carole Bakken, president of the Sun City West Kiwanis Club, presented her with a grant check for $1,000.
The Kiwanis Club of Sun City West meets 8 a.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at the SCW Foundation Building, 14465 R.H. Johnson Blvd., in the Quail Room. Guests are welcome.