Beads of Courage Program Recognizes Your Child’s Journey

Happy Heart Month from your Cardiac Center Child Life Team! We are privileged to have the opportunity to support the many patients and families receiving excellent medical care throughout their journey with the Cardiac Center. As we aim to create the most positive experience for our pediatric patients, we witness the resiliency of children as they bravely persevere through treatment.

The Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a recipient of the donor-funded Beads of Courage Program. The goal of this unique program is to honor the challenging journey your child takes while receiving care at CHOP. As part of the program, your child collects Beads of Courage to recognize various milestones they achieve throughout their treatment.

How the program works

Your child is first given a string with beads displaying their name. Then, they are given colorful beads to add to their string to symbolize the challenges they overcome along their journey. Each child’s string tells their unique story of courage.

As child life specialists, we seek opportunities to enroll patients and families in this therapeutic way of documenting a child’s healthcare journey. Patients earn beads for almost every aspect of their hospital encounter, such as completing an echocardiogram, participating in physical therapy, or having a blood draw. The beads serve as reminders of the bravery exhibited during a challenging time.

A fit for all ages

Some caregivers enjoy collecting beads for their infants or toddlers in order to have guidance while explaining their child’s hospitalization as they grow older. School-age patients can benefit from concrete representation of various procedures and surgeries. Adolescents find comfort in independently keeping track of their healthcare experience.

Child life specialists aim to regularly engage patients in therapeutic activities intended to assist with coping. Beads of Courage is generally introduced during an inpatient admission, or when a patient or family has reached a place in their treatment journey where processing their experiences is most impactful. Following initial enrollment, families are charged with independently tracking milestones in order to maintain an accurate representation of the patient’s medical history.

Beads of Courage is a great way to honor your child’s treatment journey, no matter his or her age. It’s never too late to enroll!

If you are interested in Beads of Courage through CHOP’s Cardiac Center, please email us at

Ally McLaughlin, CCLS

Katie Price, CCLS

Eden Van Alstine, CCLS

Erin Prendergast, CCLS

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