'Beads of Courage' helps children while in hospital
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CHARLOTTE -- The hospital can be a scary place for children, especially if they're going in for days at a time to undergo treatment.
But a program that began three months ago at Hemby Children's Hospital is already proving how something so simple as beads, can make a big difference in a child's life.
Savannah Odom is battling leukemia for the second time.
"All these are before, my first time I had cancer. The time I stayed in the hospital right here, surgery,” said Odom.
At just eight-years-old she has a lot to show for it, thanks to the "Beads of Courage" program.
"Because it means every time you get poked or you get blood or you lose your hair,” she said.
Hundreds of beads fill her string, showcasing all that she's been through during treatment.
"Because when I was a kid, I would just stick my chest out and they would poke it right in, and I didn't understand. But now, I'm getting where I do understand,” said Odom.
Every day, she adds new beads, something she really enjoys.
"Because it gives you something to do in the hospital when there's nothing to do and your numbers are at zero instead of just sitting here and watching TV,” she said.
Child life specialists who work with the children and their families, say this gives them something to actually show what they've gone through.
"There's not a lot that's tangible from about the journey, and this just gives them something tangible that represents every single thing they've done in their journey,” said Child Life Supervisor Elizabeth Gray.
Each bead has a story, and many patients take their beads of courage along with them, as they continue their journey after the hospital.
"Families will put the beads on their Christmas tree, or patients will wear them during graduation or at their wedding, and it just kind of represents this journey which makes them who they are," said Gray.
Just like Odom, who says she plans to get enough beads so that her strand can circle her room at home, showing off her strength and courage.
The "Beads of Courage" program is free for patients and their families at Hemby. It's primarily used for children in NICU, children with a cancer diagnosis, a hemotology diagnosis, or various types of chronic illnesses.