KTTU "In Focus," 7/11/10, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," 8/8/10, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host  Bob Lee interviewsJean Baruch, PhD, founder, Executive Director, Beads of Courage.

When Baruch was working on her Ph.D. in pediatric nursing, she always grappled with how to help young patients cope with the emotional effects of cancer. 

While doing her clinical practice at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall summer camps in Ireland, Baruch says the solution came to her…beads. She says she noticed that campers seemed to enjoy beading, and the activity seemed to alleviate some of the emotional aspects of the disease. She says that was the genesis for Beads of Courage.

Baruch says the program gives young patients colored beads to represent milestones, courageous acts, and procedures throughout their recovery process. She says most kids finish treatment with nothing tangible to show for it. She says veterans of wars get a Purple Heart. Why not something similar for young cancer survivors?   She says children get a red bead for a transfusion, a white bead  for a chemo treatment and so on. She says children can track and celebrate their progress with their beads. 

Baruch says the program is currently in 70 hospitals in 26 states and in Japan. She says it is funded entirely with private donations and grants. To date, she says some 15,000 children have participated in the Beads of Courage program.