Dell Children’s Beads of Courage


Dell Children’s Beads of Courage is a program designed to honor the journey children, teens, and their families take when they are receiving medical care. The program started at Dell Children’s in 2007 as part of the oncology program, but this October, it expands to children who are part of the cardiac program, have chronic conditions that require frequent hospitalization or are in the neonatal intensive care unit.  

9-year-old Parker Gerault is a cancer survivor. After almost three years of treatment Parker has 3,000 beads. Each bead is a color or shape that represents his treatment at Dell Children’s.

Through the Beads of Courage Programs, children receive colorful beads that symbolize each step of their treatment journey (overnight hospitalization, IV start/blood draws, procedures, scans, dressing change, clinic visit, medication challenges, caregiver “firsts”, general surgery, etc). The beads they receive provide a powerful dose of narrative medicine that visually translates their treatment experience and helps them cope with the many uncertainties of their treatment journey. Every bead makes visible the otherwise invisible. Read more in this Austin 360 feature.