Bravery Beads

Recognising courage

The Bravery Beads program recognises the courage and strength of kids with serious or life-threatening illnesses, telling the story of their individual journey.

For each procedure or surgery they undergo patients are presented with a special bead that can be added to their collection. These beads have been specifically chosen by clinical staff to represent the wide range of medical procedures and milestones that each child may face during their time at hospital.

The beads are added to a string, which for some children can be metres long. They can be used as decoration, with some kids wearing their beads as an accessory and creating multiple necklaces and bracelets. How patients choose to showcase their beads is entirely up to them – it’s their journey.

Since 2013, hundreds of sick kids have taken part in the Bravery Beads program. Families can sign their children up to Bravery Beads at any stage of their treatment so that every important step of their child’s journey is acknowledged.

With procedures sometimes being uncomfortable or frightening for patients, the Bravery Beads program offers a tangible incentive for kids to be courageous during their treatment. The program means a lot to the families, who see the beads as a tangible representation of their child’s courage, and of what the family has experienced together.

Connor’s Story

Connor was born with two congenital heart defects that has led to complicated respiratory conditions, which means that Connor and his family are regular visitors to the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Connor and his family have used the Bravery Beads initiative to record his incredible strength over the past two years of his life.

For Connor’s mother, Bianca, having a tangible way to acknowledge his journey meant the world.

“Connor has been through three open heart surgeries and countless other procedures, which will get him through until his teens, when he’ll need another surgery.

“What we love the most about the Bravery Beads is that no one will have the same number of beads, no one will have the same story because it’s his story, it’s his life told in little beads.

“We’re still making regular visits to the hospital, so we are collecting the beads in our special pencil case.

“We’d love to do something really special with the beads, so we’re going to get someone to arrange the beads into a shadow box like an ECG reading – to visually represent his journey.

“Until then, it’s just so lovely to watch him get excited about the different beads.

“He loves to show his beads to anyone who will stop and listen, and he especially loves to wear them around his neck.

“It’s really helps us as parents make the hospital experience easier on him – when he’s focused on the beads, it really helps him get through the various tests and procedures.

“Even on our darkest days, just looking at the beads reassures us that we’ve made it this far and we can get through anything as a family unit.

“It’s an invaluable visual reminder of all of our strength.”

How to sign up to our Bravery Beads program

Bravery Beads are available at a number of regional hospitals across Queensland. It is only with the support of our generous donors that we are able to continue to fund services like this. For more information on how to get involved with our Bravery Beads program contact patientfamilysupport@childrens.org.au

  • Patients whose treatments fall within the following categories are able to participate in the Bravery Bead program:
  • Oncology
  • Metabolic
  • Diabetes &Endocrine
  • Respiratory
  • PICU (paediatric intensive care unit)
  • To apply for Bravery Beads, please talk to your doctor or nurse about signing up.