Beads of Courage, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization transforming the treatment process for children and teens coping with serious illness through innovative Arts-in-Medicine programs. DONATE TODAY.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Major League Baseball Manager Carries Beads to Encourage Kids

Toronto Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo
Photo credit: Timothy T. Ludwing - USA TODAY Sports

For the sixth consecutive year, Beads of Courage (BOC) is honored to have Major League Baseball's Charlie Montoyo carrying beads at every Toronto Blue Jays practice and game throughout the entire season. 

In the photo above, Charlie is wearing his custom Beads of Courage bracelet. The artist-made glass beads on the bracelet were hand-selected in the blue and white team colors of the Blue Jays and made into a bracelet so Charlie can wear it while actively managing his team.

The Montoyo family first encountered Beads of Courage when their young son Alex participated in the flagship BOC program during treatment for a serious congenital heart defect. The program helps children coping with serious illness by providing a visual and tangible way to chronicle their medical journey and celebrate treatment milestones. 

"Beads of Courage is such an important program to help kids tell their stories," says Charlie. "My son became a member 13-1/2 years ago and I’m excited to be able to wear beads for kids with medical conditions like his."

Charlie is an honored member of Team Beads of Courage through our Carry a Bead program, which invites the public, including athletes and celebrities, to literally "carry" or wear beads during an activity or event. 

Each bead that is carried is returned to us, packaged with a handwritten note of encouragement, and presented to a child in the BOC program as an Act of Courage bead – a special and coveted bead given on a tough treatment day. These beads remind children who are fighting for their lives to stay strong and remember they are never alone.  

We invite YOU to carry a bead like Charlie Montoyo to support kids coping with serious illness with our Special-Edition Baseball Carry a Bead kit.

Each kit contains two beads on a safety pin for you to carry or wear to a baseball practice or game ... even T-ball counts! Return one bead and your note of encouragement which will be given to a child in the Beads of Courage program. Also included is a fun backpack clip with a baseball bead and BOC logo bead for you to keep, along with the official Team Beads of Courage pewter charm.

Our Baseball Carry a Bead kits are just $15 each and proceeds help fund our nonprofit mission of hope and healing for kids coping with cancer and other serious illnesses. 

You can also support BOC with our Logo Baseball Shirts and Ball Caps. Just click on the links or images to visit our website.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of kids coping with serious illness.

You're our MVP! 

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About Beads of Courage: The mission of Beads of Courage is to provide innovative arts-in-medicine programs for children coping with cancer and other serious illness, their families, and the clinicians who care for them. Beads of Courage programs are evidence-based interventions designed to strengthen resilience, alleviate suffering, and improve the psychosocial adjustment process. Beads of Courage is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.  For more information or to donate, visit  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Collaborate with Brenda Schweder: Art Jewelry Auction for Beads of Courage






The Collaborate with Brenda Schweder: Art Jewelry Auction for Beads of Courage countdown continues! 


Are you watching your bids closely? 

'Cause I know that you know that ALL of these fabulous jewelry works are one-of-a-kind!

And not only that, the pieces in this collection are infused with

[Side Story: As an alum of Mount Mary University women's college, where many of my professors were nuns, I received a baby shower gift of booties from my prof-turned-friend, Sister Theresa. She told me that the tiny shoes were indeed hand-crafted by nuns who knit love in every stitch! Now you know the flood-gates
😭 opened at that moment for this very hormonally pregnant mom-to-be!]

And I feel the same way about these jewelry pieces ... there is love in every pound of the hammer and closing of each jump ring! 

But back to the Auction ... here are a few FAQ's you might be interested in:

+ 70 FANTASTIC art jewelry works
+ Made by 30+ jewelry maker friends
+ 17 of whom donated 2 or more pieces
+ 18 of those 70 pieces feature TV Tray bits from  my antique store find [see above].

The auction runs through Monday, the 12th, so get those final bids in before 11:59pm that day. 

The direct link is here at Bidding



Please support Beads of Courage and the children they serve by bidding early and often AND sharing the call through your social networks!








Miss my yesterday's Facebook Live Broadcast tutorial, Loves?

We had a little Diamante Rhinestone Mesh Netting madness going on!

My first week of the Bring It On!! Month of Live Broadcasts--aka the first of my self-imposed jewelry-making component challenges--tackled using the white version of this awesome fabric!

I created an orange aluminum wire 3D TreasureTrap [NTaJ! version pattern is here and non-jig pattern and instructions here] and then captured a fun die
🎲  inside. [We pretended the casino memento was from our fateful win at the Lady-Luck tables!]  

I also listed a few sample sizes of the mesh netting in green, blue or white in my Etsy shop in case you're interested in trying a bit for yourself.

Join me next week at 2pm [ <<same bat time; same bat channel>> ] Brenda Schweder Jewelry Facebook page for my next challenge tutorial: Fiber Craft Beads [I call them Prince beads as they're the bead Formerly known as 
🐴 Pony ... ahem!].



Know another SpecialGuest who shares our spirit? Our curiosity for the found, the whimsical, the Odd with a capital O? Another Weirdo-in-Waiting? Wave our official FreakFlag, Loves, by clicking below—it’s like a tap-on-the-shoulder for the geek club we self-assign! (Apologies to the jocks and preps!)





Want a direct link to Brenda’s Etsy shop? Click here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Guest Blog Post - Bead Mom Juls Baumkirchner


Meet Beauden! This sweet three-year-old boy from Lake Havasu City, Arizona thought he was going on a family camping trip in San Diego. He fell off his little Stryder bike and scraped his knee the first night there. The next day he had a fever and wasn’t really talking to us. That night, he’d hoist himself with his upper body to move positions when sleeping. The day after that, which was the second day of vacation, he had a high fever, wouldn’t walk, his breathing was rapid, and his knee and lip were swelling. 

We took him to the ER and he ended up in the PICU at Rady Children’s Hospital. His stay there was two months before moving into another unit for another two weeks. In order to be at Beauden's bedside and with COVID regulations, his dad and I had to be separated from our two daughters by another state for that entire time with the exception of a couple of visits. 

Beauden was diagnosed with MSSA, a staph infection. It took over his little body, causing sepsis/toxic shock syndrome. Beauden had both legs amputated, as well as a couple of fingers. This sweet boy has had 19 surgeries, dressing changes that equal an hour or so of pure screaming - that started as daily to just about every other day or three days at most since November - and still going. He now has some sort of PT/OT therapy four times a week. 

Through all of this, he radiates sunshine. He’s a kid who just wants to be a kid. Our child life specialist at Rady Children’s introduced us to Beads of Courage early on. Each bead represents a night at the hospital, a surgery, a prick/poke, blood transfusions and so much more. Beauden has 343 beads and that doesn’t include his four nights at Phoenix Children’s Hospital as well as some other beads not accounted for at the time. 

These beads are colorful, encouraging, brave memories of the darkest of days for Beauden, as well as us as a family. They are small glimmers of hope and accomplishment each time we receive a handful, which tell Beauden's medical story. 

They might be just beads to others, but these artistic treasures will be cherished by Beauden and his whole family for our lifetime.

- Juls Baumkirchner (Beauden's mom)

Beauden's Beads of Courage

  • Dialysis-19
  • Central line/Picc line-4
  • Dressing change/central line/surgery site-6
  • Echocardiogram-3
  • Emergency-1
  • Surgery-19
  • Isolation precaution/fever/neutropenia-5
  • Overnight stay in hospital-75
  • IV poke/blood draw-1
  • Wound care-everyday since October 7, still going
  • Respiratory support/ventilator/anesthesia- 47
  • CT/MRI/X-ray/-27
  • Speech/OT/PT-25 but missing tons more
  • Transfusions-11
  • NG/NJ/Drain/catheter -10
  • Act of Courage- 2 (one for amputations, 1 for first dressing change without ketamine)
  • Admission to intensive care unit-1
  • Mobility challenges- 17 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Guest Blog Post - Beads of Courage Member Emily Rayne, age 16

My name is Emily and I am a type 1 diabetic and part of the Beads of Courage program. I will never forget when my world was flipped upside down six years ago. I remember being 10 years old and was told my life would never be the same. When I walked into Children's Hospital, I had no idea what to expect; but thanks to the amazing staff there, they told me about Beads of Courage. 

As soon as I got my first bead I fell in love with the program. The Beads of Courage program helps me stay on top of my diabetes. It helps me on the hard days because when I don't want to do something, I say to myself I will get a bead for it. I have 6 full strands of beads that range from getting my blood drawn to surgeries.

I am so thankful to be part of this amazing program. Being part of Beads of Courage makes me feel like part of a huge family. It connects me with a ton of other kids like me battling chronic conditions. There aren't a lot of good things that are associated with diabetes, but the Beads of Courage program is one of them!

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A note from Beads of Courage: When you donate to our year-end fundraising appeal, you help make every day brighter for children and teens coping with serious illness. These are never just little beads. Thank you for making a difference for these courageous kids today! 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Guest Blog Post - Jodi Nolte, PMP, Strategic Philanthropy Consultant at Northwestern Mutual

Why Gold Origami Cranes?

The legend of the origami crane is that if you fold 1,000 cranes, your wish will come true. At Northwestern Mutual, our wish is for an end to childhood cancer. Until that time comes, however, we are committed to supporting kids and their families while they undergo treatment. That is why we are proud supporters of Beads of Courage, and each year, we string 1,000 origami crane strings. 

"When I make the crane strings, I have a chance to use my creativity while also sending a wish for love, strength, and healing to a child that is going through treatment," says Denise Uttke, Northwestern Mutual employee. "I enjoy making the crane strings and it allows me to honor Robert and hope for better outcomes for other children who have their own cancer battles." 

Since 2016, Northwestern Mutual employees have strung the origami crane strings in the month of September to honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Gold is the color for childhood cancer, which is another reason why the gold cranes are significant. It is our hope these colorful strings kids can hang from their IV poles, windows, or above their beds will remind them someone is thinking about them, sending them love, hope, and healing. 

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A note from Beads of Courage: Northwestern Mutual has been a strategic partner of Beads of Courage since 2017 as part of their Childhood Cancer Program, which focuses on helping children and families affected by childhood cancer. Their generous and ongoing support is in keeping with Northwestern Mutual Foundation's mission to improve the lives of children and families in need through financial support, volunteerism and collaboration with community partners.

The gold origami crane bead, along with our entire origami crane bead collection, is available on our website.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Guest Blog Post - Beads of Courage Member Alexis Douglas

I started my journey with Beads of Courage at three years old, although my time at the hospital was way before that. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma at two months old. I had a 10% chance of survival. In order to save me, they had to take out my kidney and give me very hardcore chemotherapy and radiation. That has affected a lot of my life after cancer. 

As I reflect on my time as a cancer survivor, and my time with Beads of Courage, I flash back to all the memories of wearing them. Even after treatment, I still wear them to so many events and I am so proud to be wearing them. I always felt guilty for not remembering my cancer treatment. Why should people be calling me a miracle if I do not remember fighting? But, as I looked at the beads, time and time again, I felt like a warrior. I still deal with the side effects and scars, and my Beads of Courage help me realize that I am still a fighter and I deserve the title of cancer survivor. 

Each bead tells a story. That is why they mean so much to me. Each bead has a different meaning and a different level of importance. Whether it is a simple blood draw or kidney surgery, Beads of Courage covers all of it. Each one means so much to me because of which doctor gave it to me, what situation I was in, and how I earned it.

As I see other survivors wear their beads, I feel a connection to them. Beads of Courage helps me understand what they had to go through and fight against to be here today. It helps me feel bonded to them and respect their strength. Beads of Courage has made such a positive impact in my life, and I am so grateful to have my beads as a reminder of all I fought against.

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Note from BOC: As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of donors who believe in the power of beads to provide hope and healing for children and teens like Alexis. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of courageous kids coping with cancer and other serious illnesses!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Carry a Bead Guest Blog Post - Paulette McGrew, Adventurer

Last year I attended the September Champ 5k Run/Walk with one of my favorite tiny humans on this planet, Ezrah, and her family. Ezrah was diagnosed with leukemia last year at the age of 2 and has been the bravest little warrior since. Our welcome pack came with some Beads of Courage for us to wear during our walk, and after the 5k we were meant to turn them back in and write a note for the fighter who would be receiving them. Well, I got so caught up in the event and everything going on that I forgot to make my way to the booth to return one of my beads and as a result, they’ve been with me ever since.

When I go on hikes and adventures, these beads almost always come with me. Ten months later the beads have done countless runs and hikes in the McDowell, Superstition, South, and Phoenix Mountains. They’ve gone adventuring with me in canyons, cliff jumping, snowboarding, swimming, camping, walking, and most recently, backpacking.

Though I don’t have very many pictures with the beads, I did make sure to capture them with me on my most recent backpacking trip. This was my first backpacking trip where I didn’t have someone to guide me; instead, I was the one guiding my friend on her first backpacking experience. There was a lot of uncertainty, a little bit of fear that something might go wrong, and slight pressure to make sure that I could create the best possible experience for her. The backpacking trip turned out to be incredibly successful despite making it out with almost 200 ant bites on my body. You win some you lose some, right?

At first, it was never my intention to take the beads almost everywhere I went, but as time went on I kept adventuring and the beads just became a part of what I did. When I’m out running, they’ve been the greatest motivator to keep going, because suddenly that run isn’t about you. It’s for someone who’s out there fighting day and night. If they can fight their fight, you can run that extra mile. You can hike that mountain, or jump off that cliff. They can do hard things and so can you.

I understand that so many of our fighters aren’t able to go outside and have the experiences that I’m so lucky to have. My hope is that I can take these beads with me and fill them with amazing energy, adventure, and joy. When things get hard I hope these beads serve as a reminder to the children who receive them that they aren’t in this fight alone. 

I know Ezrah and all the brave fighters out there are doing their very best, and I’m so incredibly proud of them. Though they may not know it, they always inspire me and push me to do better and try new things. 

I’m planning on returning these specific beads at this year’s September Champ, but my adventures with Beads of Courage don’t end there. I’m going to keep carrying more with me and hope they bring joy and strength to the kiddos who receive them.

Please visit to make a donation or sign up and join me in carrying a bead! - Paulette McGrew, adventurer

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A note from Beads of Courage: We are so grateful to Paulette and every member of Team Beads of Courage who makes the commitment to Carry a Bead and encourage a child coping with serious illness. Through the simple act of carrying beads, you let a child in the hospital know they are never alone in their fight for life. 

You can join our team today! You don't have to run a marathon or climb a mountain to participate. Make any activity matter more when you carry beads with you. Get started now with our Be a Helper Bundle, which offers two Carry a Bead kits for the price of one! As an extra bonus, we will add your location to our global Helpers Map!