Posted: September 27, 2021 / 12:04 PM EDT / Updated: September 27, 2021 / 12:04 PM EDT
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and with more than 15,000 children diagnosed each year in the United States, there is still more work to be done.
Local organizations like Maureen’s Hope are working with families and children affected by the disease to make a difference. Founder Susan Bertrand says the work they do is important because it helps children cope and also provides the support many need at a critical time during their diagnosis and treatment.
“We do what we do and help families and get through it,” she says. And while some events were not possible, a long tradition still exists 14 years later. “Our Beads of Courage program has been able to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” she adds.
Together with community support, they have created programs such as Beads of Courage to help pediatric oncology and Cystic Fibrosis patients tell their stories using colorful beads as symbols of courage that commemorate milestones in treatment.
“It’s a way for kids to record, share, and tell their story,” she says. “We say it’s courage they can hold, and it can also initiate a conversation between a parent and a child or a sibling and a child. If you ask how they are doing, they can show and tell you their story.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to run in a few ways, but Susan adds that they are still able to run events, even in different ways. Still, there are many ways you can help today and every day.
“Sponsor our spa day for our mother warriors or wear a bead for a child,” she says. “It’s truly human solidarity at its best and it’s a simple and easy way to share your positive and encouraging thoughts with a child.”
For more information about how to donate, visit MaureensHope.org.