Program Provides Enchanting Experience

Once upon a time a necklace put a big smile on a little girl’s face.

Beads of Courage

Emily and her mom, Kelly, visit with Snoopy when he made a recent visit to Children’s.

But Emily Venable’s necklace is more than just a colorful strand of beads. It tells the story of her fight against cancer.

This 5-year-old has more than 500 Beads of Courage. Each one represents a milestone to a cancer patient: chemotherapy, doctor visits, hair loss, MRIs, trips to the ER, X-rays, etc.

They come in different colors, shapes and patterns, but Emily and her mom can tell you what each one represents. “She has glow in the dark ones from radiation,” Kelly Venable explains. “The yellow ones are for every day of chemo.”

And this mother-daughter team cherishes each and every one.

When asked what the beads mean to them, Kelly replied with this: “I went through something hard, but I get something for it. It shows that someone appreciates what Emily is going through.”

Emily has a rare form of cancer. She spends four days at Children’s every two weeks for chemotherapy.

Like other patients, her Beads of Courage journey began with a string of beads that spelled out her name. Her necklace grows with each treatment, as does the sparkle in her eyes. “Emily gets excited when she sees the beads,” her mom says.

That feeling is mutual with Emily’s nurses, who hand out the beads. “They mean the world to us,” says RN April Estrada, coordinator of the Beads of Courage Program at Children’s. “Patients and their families are inspired by it. The beads are tokens they can hold on to, and they love getting them.”

For Emily, the beads provide a few moments of “happily ever after,” as she plays with them and gets a break from cancer.

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10 Responses to Program Provides Enchanting Experience

  1. Paul Lewis December 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    This is a very uplifting story stay strong and keep fighting

  2. Kaylin December 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    This story is so inspiring! This little girl has such a positive outlook on her situation and everyone should be able to learn from her and her story!

  3. Hayley Daniel December 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    This is such an uplifting story, my heart goes out to this little girl and her family! They are in my prayers!

  4. Sherry October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I had never heard of this great program-thanks for sharing this story

  5. Whitney Wyatt September 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    You’re welcome. I agree; they are courageous and resilient!!

  6. Felicia September 18, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Wow! These children are so courageous. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story!

  7. Whitney Wyatt September 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Thank you for your comments. This little girl inspired me so much!! I thought I was tough & positive during my cancer treatments, but meeting her has me in awe – you would never know she’s in the middle of chemo! Beads of Courage is a wonderful program.

  8. Cristy Ecton September 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Thanks, Whitney! And, thanks to Heroes for Children for underwriting Beads of Courage for the oncology program!

  9. Cecilia Gladbach September 14, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    This is an amazing story. Beads of courage is also a wonderful program. It is their story and all of the patients are proud and excited about their story and the mile stones they acheive through out their treatments. These kids are heros.

  10. Curtis Ippolito September 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    What an inspiring story, Whitney. It amazes me the courage kids like Emily show us everyday.

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