Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 17, 2013

Taylor High School art class creates beads for children with cancer

MaryAnne Dishon’s jewelry-making class at Taylor High School watched as a bald child in a wheelchair held up a sign scrawled with the words, “cancer no fun.”

It was the second video they had viewed about childhood cancer.

Dishon was trying to prepare them for their upcoming project — crafting beads of courage.

“This isn’t about a grade,” she told the class. “It’s not about doing something for yourselves. It’s supposed to be unselfish. We want to send this off knowing we put our hearts into it.”

The Program

The students are making beads of all colors, shapes and sizes to give to children fighting cancer to help them tell their stories.

It’s part of a nationwide project called Beads of Courage, started by Arizona pediatric oncology nurse Jean Barush.

When Barush graduated from a top nursing school in Arizona, she knew how to care for the children physically, but she was looking for a way to reach them emotionally, she told CBS News in 2010.

“These kids were seeking something tangible,” she said.

So she came up with the idea to give them beads for every step in their cancer journey.

A white bead for every chemotherapy treatment. A red bead for every time the child’s life depends on a blood transfusion. A yellow bead every time they’re away from the comforts of home.

“The brown bead is the bead most kids don’t look forward to,” Barush told CBS News. “It’s for hair loss.”

After two years of treatment, a kid in the program averages 500 beads. Some have more than 1,000, CBS reported.


Dishon and her students watched the CBS News clip one afternoon. It was their first introduction to the program.

They watched as children tried to explain the procedures they had endured.

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