ISGB members proudly support the Beads of Courage Program
What is the Beads of Courage Program?
Children and teens that are diagnosed with a serious illness are thrust into a confusing world of needle pokes, medical treatments, and long hospital stays away from the comforts of home. They face daily challenges with strength and courage. But they need something to hold on to on tough treatment days – something that reminds them how far they’ve come, and encourages them to keep going.
The Beads of Courage® Program supports the emotional coping of children and teens diagnosed with cancer, a blood condition, congenital heart disease, a traumatic burn injury, or other chronic medical conditions, including support for families that have a baby in the NICU. The program uses colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones during treatment. Each bead represents something a child or teen had to endure, but also gives them a way to say, “I did it!” The Beads of Courage® Program makes children and teens happy. It helps them cope with treatment and restores their confidence and self-worth. It encourages them to stay strong and feel proud of what they have accomplished. It gives them a way to RECORD, OWN and TELL their stories of courage.
How it Works
Upon enrolment in the program, hospital caregivers give each Beads of Courage® member a length of string and beads that spell out their first name. Then, colorful beads, each representing a different treatment milestone are given to the child with the guidance from the Beads of Courage® Bead Prescription which highlights the meaning of each bead given. The beads transform into a form of narrative medicine where the beads help to tell their story and make visible the courageous journey of children, teens, and their families when receiving medical care for a serious illness.
How ISGB Members Can Help
Beads of Courage® programs depend on donations of all kinds of handmade beads. Thank you for your donations!
Guidelines for Glass Beads
- Do not use reduction glass, frits, powders or enamels that leave a metallic surface
- on the beads.
- Any size or shape is acceptable.
- Preferred hole size is 3/32" and larger (1/16" holes are accepted).
- The inside of the bead should be free of bead release.
- No sharp corners, sharp edges on the bead holes, cracks or protrusions that would
- easily break off, including hearts with long, delicate tails.
- Beads must be fully kiln annealed.
Please remember that these beads are worn and handled by children and should be sturdy enough to stand up to wear and tear.
How to Donate Beads
Mail donations to:
Beads of Courage, Inc.
3230 N. Dodge Blvd., Suite J
Tucson, AZ 85716
Print and fill out this Bead Donation Form and send with your beads. Here you will also find more information regarding the requirements for donated beads.
Please do not send or directly deliver your beads to member hospitals.
All beads must be inspected, logged and packaged at Beads of Courage headquarters.
Your beads are important to us. Please be sure to package securely!
How Beads are Used:
Act of Courage Beads
Act of Courage Beads are the artist-made glass beads that are given to acknowledge the milestones in a child's treatment journey. This year, we expect to need approximately 100,000 of these handmade beads donated so children can continue to receive one-of-a-kind beads for significant treatment milestones. These beads truly bring the arts to our Arts-in-Medicine mission.
Larger focal beads are used to honor the courage during a Bone Marrow Transplant (donor and recipient) and solid organ transplants. Heart shaped beads (any color) are used in our Cardiac Program to honor a cardiac transplant.
Polymer Clay Beads
Polymer Clay Beads are used as a Member's Choice Discharge Bead in the Beads of Courage Program celebrating the last day in the hospital and the chance to go home.
What happens to my donated beads?
When your beads arrive at the Beads of Courage, Inc. headquarters they are:
- Counted (if not pre-counted, BOC does appreciate when an artist pre-counts the total
- number of beads donated).
- Separated based on size (all sizes are welcome!); smaller beads are considered Act
- of Courage Beads, larger beads are given to members who receive transplants.
- Each bead is individually packaged in a small, clear bag with a card describing the meaning of the bead.
- Beads are then sent to any one of our member hospitals based on need.
Angeline Fahey, at Beads of Courage, Inc is available to answer your questions at
For more information, visit the Beads of Courage website.