Jean Baruch is a remarkable nurse who understands how to help children with serious illness become Healthy Survivors.
While working on her PhD at the University of Arizona School of Nursing, Baruch sought a practical yet meaningful way to acknowledge the many challenges children face while dealing with serious illness. After in-depth research of the medical and psychosocial literatures, she came up with Beads of Courage.
Children make bead necklaces, where each bead represents one challenge they've overcome. So, for example, a white bead represents a chemo treatment and a red bead a transfusion. Children have beads for losing their hair, having surgery, undergoing bone-marrow biopsies, and so on.
These necklaces are healing because they:
- Provide a tangible acknowledgement of the courage required for each step of the journey.
- Link something fun -- picking out a special bead -- with something painful or sad.
One father wears the necklace that is now too heavy for his child. Wearing the necklace helps him realize in a new way and announcing with pride to the world all his child has endured. The weight of the necklace comforts him with the sense of lifting a piece of his child's burden.
One mother struggling with grief looks at the necklace left behind by her child and says to herself, "Your 7-year-old daughter went through of that...You can get through today."
To see Healthy Survivorship in action, watch this 7-minute video: CBS's piece on Beads of Courage.