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 do.
Locally, organizations like Maureen’s Hope, works with families and children impacted by the disease to help make a difference. Founder Susan Bertrand says that the work they do is important because it helps children cope and also offers the support that many need at a critical time during their diagnosis and treatment.
“We are doing what we do and helping families and getting through,” she says. And while some events haven’t been possible, one longstanding tradition is still going strong 14 years later. “Our Beads of Courage program has been able to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” she adds.
Together with the community’s support, they’ve created programs like Beads of Courage to help pediatric oncology and Cystic Fibrosis patients tell their story using colorful beads as symbols of courage that commemorate treatment milestones.
“It’s a way for children to record share and tell their story,” she says. “We say that it’s courage that they can hold, and it can also initiate conversation between a parent and a child or a sibling and a child. When you ask how they’re doing, they can show you and tell you their story.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve had to pivot in a few ways but Susan adds that they’re still able to make events happen, even in different ways. Still there are many ways that you can help today and everyday.
“Sponsor our spa day for our mom warriors or carry a bead for a child,” she says. “It’s really human solidarity at its finest and it’s a simple and easy way to share your positive and encouraging thoughts with a child.”
To learn more about how you can donate visit MaureensHope.org.