Children with Cancer UK is delighted to support the Beads of Courage Oncology Programme in the UK

Children with Cancer UK is delighted to announce a new five year partnership (2023-2028) with Beads of Courage UK to help support young cancer patients and their families. You can read the press release here.

The Beads of Courage UK programme offers support and strength to families when they need it most. 

Since our partnership with Beads of Courage UK began in 2019, we have helped support approximately 14,000 children in over 100 hospitals acknowledge, celebrate and record 10 plus million milestones. Our grant has also enabled training sessions to hospital staff on how to support individual patients throughout the programme both practically and emotionally. Every bead tells a story of hope, support and encouragement.

We are also supporting Beads of Courage UK and their pilot scheme of their new Siblings Programme. Click here to find out more.

Our partnership with Beads of Courage UK

Beads of Courage UK logo

Our partnership with Beads of Courage UK will ensure that the Beads of Courage will be available to all young cancer patients being treated in 110 childhood cancer wards across the UK. Over 4,200 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. The first bead that young cancer patients receive will also be branded as the Children with Cancer UK bead to show our support for these brave children.

This is part of our commitment to providing hope and happiness to children and young people with cancer.

Thank you for supporting children through their treatment

Thanks your generous support we’ve been able to commit £1.2 million since 2018 for the Beads of Courage UK oncology programme to support children, like Ted, who go through difficult treatment journeys. Thank you for your support.

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What are Beads of Courage?

Ted with his Beads of CourageAt every stage of cancer treatment, children receive a new Bead of Courage. The beads join together to form (often long) physical representations of their recovery, keeping a record of every hospital trip and treatment on their courageous journey. The Beads of Courage help to decrease illness-related distress and increase positive coping strategies to support children and their families.

There is an extensive Beads of Courage list that explains what each bead type symbolises. A few examples of these beads include:

  • Yellow bead: an overnight stay in hospital
  • White bead: a course of chemotherapy
  • Blue bead: visits to the clinic
  • Glow-in-the-dark bead: a course of radiation treatment
  • Glass bead: an act of courage
  • Special star bead: a special accomplishment
  • Purple heart bead: completion of treatment!


Explaining my childhood cancer journey

Ted was diagnosed infantile lymphoblastic leukaemia at just six months old. Since then, throughout his treatment he has received a bead to symbolise each different point of his story. Watch Ted’s story.

This video was shortlisted for the 2020 Charity Film Awards. 

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Beating Cancer: the Beads of Courage and Ted's Story

Ted was diagnosed with infantile acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at just 6 months old. Now in remission, Ted and his father share their experience of the road to recovery and how Beads of Courage UK helped to articulate Ted’s journey and story. Watch their story.

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Running with a special Bead of Courage

24 April 2023 many of our wonderful London Marathon runners carried a special Bead of Courage for a child with cancer.

Runner's bead of courageTwo of these unique, handcrafted beads were carried by each runner as they took part in this most famous of all marathons – a personal achievement for any runner. At the end, they kept one bead and returned the other with a caring note to encourage a child or teen coping with serious illness.

A simple bead goes a long way to encourage and honour their fight for life.


When Sam met Sam

In March 2019 we introduced ITV children’s presenter, Sam Homewood, to childhood cancer survivor Sam. TV presenter Sam Homewood ran the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for us this April. 11 year old Sam asked Sam Homewood if he would run the marathon carrying his brightly coloured Rainbow Bead, given to him for his physiotherapy sessions. When Sam was receiving his physiotherapy sessions, he was confined to a wheelchair as a result of his treatment. When Sam Homewood completed his marathon, he returned this bead that had completed the marathon, back to young Sam at the finish.
Watch their video.

This video was shortlisted for the 2020 Charity Film Awards. 

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