First, a little about Beads of Courage. It is a NATIONAL program that is available in some children's hospitals (the funding would help expand the program). Trained medical professionals help kids undergoing treatment tell their stories by allowing them to select beads of different colors for different treatments. Each color has a meaning, and the individual beads themselves speak to the child who chooses them to be part of their story. It's simple and yet means so much to the people who are involved. When the child completes their treatment, they receive a purple heart, like the US troops who are wounded in battle but survive. If the child passes away, the parents receive a butterfly, indicating a metamorphosis into something new.
Many beadmakers provide beads to the program by way of donation. They are lovingly handmade and shipped to Tucson so they can be sorted and distributed to the hospitals who participate in the program. So, it really has become a labor of love for the glass community to see this program be successful.
They intend to use the grant from Pepsi to train more health care professionals in the program and to launch the program in 10 more hospitals around the US.
My reasons for supporting this idea are many. First of all, my family has been impacted by cancer (although not childhood cancer), and I can see where a program of this sort would be a bright spot in a patient's life. It gives patients a way to tell their story. "Oh, I got this bead when..." It gives them a badge of courage to display so other people can visualize what they've gone through in the course of their treatment. It gives them a way to express themselves from the beads that they choose to the way they choose to display them. It gives them a little bit of control over what's going on in their lives.
Second, it's a national program. The funding would benefit people all across the US, not just those in Tucson where the program is headquartered. So many of the ideas in the running for funding are so local that only people in that particular community would be affected by them winning. This idea is SO much bigger than that.
Third, as a health care professional, I can see how a program like this would help a difficult job be a little brighter. We all enjoy helping patients and seeing them get better. That's what we do. But if we can do something that brings an extra smile to someone's face, wouldn't we? What child doesn't like a treat or a present after we've drawn their blood, given them a shot, administered a treatment that's going to make them ill. I see it as a way of "making peace" with the younger ones who might not understand that what we do is ultimately to help them, and as a reward for a job well done to those who understand, but don't like it anyway.
Fourth, as a beadmaker, I know the love that goes into making those beads and shipping them to the Beads of Courage program and am thrilled at the idea of helping brighten someone's day. As a glass community, we are very giving and supportive and we're thrilled at the idea of having this program expand, and with it, knowledge of our craft.
So, how can you help support this program? Go to www.refresheverything.com and do a search for "beads of courage." To vote, you must be logged in. If you haven't registered, don't worry, it's fast and painless, I promise! You simply need an email address, you provide a password, and then you can vote. Be sure the vote counts go down to 9 after you've voted to be sure your vote has counted. Then log out. It's that simple. Or if you're on facebook, just click the "log in with facebook" icon and it will take you directly to where you can vote.
You can vote daily through July 31. Please take the time to do it. I do every morning while I'm drinking my cup of tea and trying to wake up (see, doesn't even take any brain power, just click, type, click...)
Once you have voted, PLEASE share the link on facebook by clicking the facebook icon just below where you clicked to vote. It will show up as a link on your wall that any of your friends can follow and vote.
Please, help us get the word out about this program and vote! Only the top 10 receive funding, and we've been teetering at 15th and 14th for the past several days. We're SO close, please give us that final push we need to make it to the top 10!!