Kylie, Child Life Therapist, Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick:
“One of the programs I’m able to offer as a Child Life Therapist is the Beads of Courage program. Beads of Courage is an arts and medicine program that allows children to collect different beads that represent different milestones along their journey, and really celebrate those.
“So once they’ve finished treatment, they end up with a visual representation of what they’ve been through, which they can use to show their family and friends and explain what their hospital journey has been like. Or, if the child’s quite young, the parents can use it as they get older to explain to them what they’ve been through in their young life.
“As they go along those first few days, they start to collect their first few beads. So there’s a bead that represents when they came through emergency because often that’s how they arrive at the hospital. There’s their first test and scans, their first blood transfusions, their first overnight stays in hospital.
“And as they go along, they collect a bead not only for each test or procedure – but for every milestone. So when they find out they’re in remission, there’s a bead that they can collect for that. And we celebrate other things like going back to school, their high school formals and things like that. So they get to celebrate milestones along the way.
“What they end up with is quite a sizable collection. So these beads are Ruby’s actual collection, and at the moment she has over 400 beads and still counting. So she’ll be able to collect even when she finishes treatment right through to her five years off treatment, when she’ll get a survivor charm. She’s going to have quite the impressive collection by that point.”