Imagine having a form of childhood cancer that has kept you in and out of hospitals so much that you've had more treatments by 2 years old than most people go through in their entire lifetime.

That's how it can be for children at St. Jude Children's Hospital, so one parent decided to come up with a way to chronicle treatment sessions and minimize stress and anxiety that goes along with hospitalization and treatments.

It's called the legacy bead program.

Children at St. Jude are given a piece of string along with beads to spell their name, and a St. Jude logo bead to make a bracelet. Then, each time they have to go in for treatment, they're given another, unique bead to represent their journey.

A square orange bead is for physical therapy

A green, cone-shaped bead for a CT scan

Silver for a final chemotherapy session

Gold for remission

And there are more too. In fact, St. Jude offers patients over 50 different beads to keep track of treatments.


The children use this exercise as a way to express themselves and keep track of their treatments and visits to St. Jude.

St. Jude families find different and interesting ways to display their Legacy Beads.

Some make strands that can be hung from the ceiling; others decorate strollers, purses or backpacks with the beaded strings.

Teens say the beads give them a concrete and visual way to share their stories with others, and help people understand what they've been through at home.

One mother plans to string her toddler's more than 300 beads in his bedroom as a reminder of his fight and bravery, and a reminder to her of how far they've come.

You can read more about the amazing work being done at St. Jude and the Legacy bead program at

You can help save lives by becoming a Partner in Hope for just $20 a month. Not only will you be saving lives, you'll have a shirt to prove it. Donate online at St Jude.

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