Anyeli can narrate her story using the beads. Diagnosis. Hair loss. Chemotherapy. Going gome. 🙂

These beads, each one symbolizing a different experience that a patient must endure, from being diagnosed and admitted into the hospital to losing one’s hair or having a tumor removed, they become small tangible ways to represent a harrowing journey that is mapped onto a child’s body.Matched by a grant from Rotary District 7930, we kick-started a new inventory of story–telling BEADS. They’re available on the cancer and bone marrow transplant units at the hospital. Including a ‘Bright Happy Power’ bead to encourage some optimism.

Each child receives a bag. And a starting bead. And a line to string more beads. And an order form like a menu or shopping list, to request more beads as they are earned … because so many experiences await each patient.


Stanley is one of about 180 patients enrolled in the BEADS program at any time.

Looking at the list of beads, holding them, and sharing them? These are ways for children to externalize an difficult experience and tell a story without having to give up their bodies, which are so often ‘publicly available’ because of examinations and treatments. And each bead shrinks a huge milestone into a small story that a child can hold in the palm of a hand, gaining a brief sense of empowerment. Children can tell the story starting from any point on the strong of beads, further regaining a sense of control and creativity.

The program was originally conceived and started by another family (Rebecca Nissel).