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. They may look like merely bright, plastic beads, but to kids with serious illnesses, they are so much more. Each bead is a milestone, a chance to smile, unique to a particular procedure or stage of their treatment.

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If you would like your child to participate in the Bravery Beads program, please register here. Once registered your child will receive their Bravery Bead Starter Kit at their bedside or delivered to your home address. The Bravery Bead Starter Kit includes; 1 length of cord, a set of beads spelling out their first name, a bravery bead booklet and an instruction flyer.

Who can participate

All patients undergoing treatment for cancer, metabolic, respiratory, rheumatology or diabetes and endocrinology conditions or have been admitted to PICU are invited to participate in the Bravery Beads program. The program is also available to any child with a lifelong or long-term condition.

Learn more

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 Bead program. Please contact the Patient and Family Support Team via or on 07 3068 1662 

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Bravery beads program

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 representation of their child’s courage, and of what the family has experienced together. Their ‘bead story’ will be something they can compare with other kids in the hospital, and share with their family and friends.

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.

Safety warning

Beads should be worn with proper supervision to avoid potential for choking or strangulation. Beads are not to be worn in bed, while playing, sleeping or when a child is sedated. We recommend that parents be the ones to collect beads and wear the necklace for children under the age of five.

Potential risks for your child

As with all toys containing small pieces, there are risks of injury or death if children are not supervised correctly with their beads. While policies and procedures are in place to minimise risks, for your child’s safety please note:

  • Beads pose a potential choking hazard if they are ingested.
  • Strangulation may result if appropriate care is not taken when wearing or handling the beading necklace. Please ensure your child is supervised when handling or wearing the beads. Do not allow your child to wear the necklace when in bed, sleeping, sedated or playing.
  • If the cord breaks, loose beads on the floor could become a potential slip hazard.
  • Small sharp fragments may cause minor injury if beads break.
  • Injury may occur if the necklace is swung around or used inappropriately.
  • Beads and beading resources may transmit infection if not kept clean.

Children’s Hospital Foundation and hospital staff and volunteers reserve the right to intervene and remove the beads from a child’s possession if they are being handled in an inappropriate way or if the child is unsupervised. This is to ensure the safety of all children in the hospital.

Cleaning instructions

Periodic cleaning in a warm soapy solution is recommended for general hygiene.

CHF Profile photographs. 24.05.2019 Picture: Renae Droop/RDW Photography
CHF Profile photographs. 24.05.2019 Picture: Renae Droop/RDW Photography
CHF Profile photographs. 24.05.2019 Picture: Renae Droop/RDW Photography

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.”