Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beads of Courage for My Girl

Life certainly can be ironic. Or come full circle. You know, like a bead. On January 2 of this year, the last day of winter break for my kids, I took my daughter Annie to JoAnne's to buy some fabric. She was using gift cards she'd received for the holidays to buy fabric because she wanted to make bags for Beads of Courage, a program that I love to support. Beads of Courage provides beads for children who are dealing with serious illnesses - different beads are assigned to various treatments. As you can imagine, some of these little fighters have multiple strands that are filled with all kinds of beads. So Beads of Courage not only depends on artists to create beads for the program, but it also relies on volunteers to make special bead bags for the kids. Annie, who loves to sew, had wanted to make these bags for a long time. So that's how we found ourselves at JoAnne's, picking out some fun fabrics on January 2. 

On January 3, I called our pediatrician's office to ask about Annie's sudden weight loss and extreme thirst, symptoms we'd noticed for the previous couple weeks. With the New Year's holiday long weekend, it was my first chance to call after realizing just how severe her symptoms were. I was told to take her right in for a blood test, and that's when we got her Juvenile Diabetes diagnosis. I first wrote about that here. Since Annie's diagnosis, our time has been filled with doctor's appointments and educating ourselves about this disease. But in the four months since she was diagnosed, Annie did finally get to make her first Beads of Courage bag. Her grandma came over and the two of them spent an afternoon figuring out the pattern and making one finished bag. Annie was so excited to finally make it! She plans on making more.

The first Beads of Courage bead bag Annie made.

Shortly after Annie's diagnosis, I learned that Beads of Courage now has a Chronic Illness program, which includes kids like Annie who have diabetes. So after a few weeks I finally filled out Annie's information and signed her up. And guess what came in the mail a few days ago? Annie's strand of beads! It's a short strand, and we hope it stays that way. :) But each bead on there stands for something she's been through - from her nights spent in the hospital to her blood draws while she was there. There are also special bumpy beads that represent learning to take her own medicine - in this case insulin shots - so I made that bead for her, as well as one for learning to use the insulin pen (which is now how she injects herself).

It hasn't been easy, adjusting to this new normal. But Annie has come so far in the last four months and we are so proud of her. She was so excited to receive her beads - and for someone who has pretty much open access to all kinds of beads here, that's saying a lot! That's because the Beads of Courage beads were hard-earned, and that's what makes each and every one so special. Thank you, thank you, Beads of Courage.


  1. Short or not, she has definitely earned her beads. So happy that she can be a part of the program while going through all of this. Love her first bead bag as well. Doggies!!! =) I'll have to keep a look out for pug material to send her for bags. =)


  2. Wow Lauren! I didn't know this was going on with you until I saw your post this morning on the BOC page. I'm so sorry your daughter is going through this. Thank her for her contribution of sewing bags! That is so cool that she like to sew! Start those crafters early!!! A big hug to you and to her. Sweet to see her with her strand of hard earned beads!


  3. Oh Lauren, I'm crying reading this... So so sorry that Annie has to deal with this and hoping that beads make her journey a little more comfortable!

  4. Lauren,
    Thanks for sharing this, I had no idea about the extension of the BOC program. Annie is an amazing girl and so very beautiful too. Best wishes and heartfelt thoughts to you and your family.

  5. Oh no Lauren, I'm so sorry this has happened, great big hugs to Annie, you and your family. The bags she is making are very cute and a wonderful idea.

  6. Oh wow Annie, you are beautiful x What a wonderful bag, you are so talented and I am so bad, I have here on my table your beautiful card and I have yet to reply. I too love to give beads to BofC here in the UK, and was thrilled that my local hospital now supports the programme here in South West England. I love your strand of beads and too hope they stay that small. My husband was told yesterday he is 'just about' managing his type 2 diabetis, when the time comes and he doesn't manage anymore, I will be ordering him one of your bags xx

    Laney x

  7. Lauren, this makes it real! Thank you for sharing!

  8. You guys make a great team - probably soon to be duo beadmakers! Beads of Courage is lucky to have you - and now you are thankful they are there to support your journey. Do they make Mom Beads of Courage? I bet you've earned a few of those! You both make me smile : )

  9. That is so cool!!! its sad that she qualifies for the program, but cool that you have it now!! you could get a dream bead... from your mom! so neat!!!

    -hannah (also a beads of courage member :)