CHILDREN in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary will now be able to track their progress through treatment for cancer or blood conditions – with beads for every significant event during their treatment journey.
The Beads of Courage charity, which started in the US, began working with hospitals in Glasgow ten years ago and has expanded to cover oncology units across the country. Now children being treated in the oncology and haematology units at DGRI will be offered beads to mark the stages of their treatment.
As well as beads marking rounds of treatment and nights spent in the hospital, there will be special beads for birthdays and anniversaries, “I Did It!” beads for achieving particularly hard goals, journeys to receive treatment elsewhere, and many other types.
Thirteen-year-old Reagyn Ferguson from Annan collected a hoard of 7,648 beads over the course of his treatment for leukemia in DGRI and Glasgow. He and his mother Sharon were present in DGRI as the charity officially began work in Dumfries and Galloway – and he received his 7,649th bead for attending.
And Arran Hyslop from Dumfries, who is going through treatment at present, received his beads from staff nurse Jenna Thompson in DGRI’s paediatric unit.
A representative of the charity said: “The beads are something that all the children have in common – it can be very isolating when you start treatment. And it gives the families something in common as well.”
NHS Dumfries and Galloway general manager for women, children and sexual health services Linda Williamson said: “It’s great that this is now happening. For many of these children, treatment can last for months or even years. Each night away from home, each session of treatment, each journey for specialist treatment is a challenge for the children and for their families. The beads will give them a way to mark and remember each step on the journey, and we’re very happy that patients in Dumfries and Galloway can now take part.”