Cherishing Every Moment With Beads of Courage

Jun 5, 2024 9:00 AM ET
Campaign: Aflac Stories

Originally published on Aflac Newsroom

Charlie’s smile was timid as her mother gingerly pulled the small patient wagon in which she sat into the room, the two having ventured downstairs on this recent Thursday afternoon to visit the Celebration of Courage Event sponsored by Aflac and Beads of Courage. It was week three of Charlie’s stay as a patient at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the first time the five-year-old had felt well enough to leave her room.

Celebrating the courage of patients and family members, the free of charge event was held to give them the opportunity to socialize and create new bead necklaces, clips and bracelets that help represent personal milestones in their treatment journeys. Among the bead selections were an Aflac Wingman Bead and a My Special Aflac Duck® Bead, special nods to the 18 Aflac employee volunteers who had traveled from Columbus to help this afternoon.

Five-year-old Dewey was looking forward to the event, almost as much as he was to turning six the next week, his mother, Megan, admitted as they made their way from one bead station to the next. Dewey sat quietly in his wheelchair, his collection of colorful beads threaded together by a brown string laying on a bright green tray across his lap. There were shiny blue beads, yellow ones and others in various shades of red, green and brown, some with swirls and stripes and even one with a rainbow. Five square, white beads, each with its own bold, black letter, were strung together to spell out his name.

“Some represent procedures and other milestones,” his mother said of the multiple dozens of beads Dewey brought with him. “Others, he just liked the colors.

“Little things make him happy.”

Aflac volunteers helped Dewey pick out even more beads to add to his collection.

“I was so happy to see the smiles on all of the faces,” said Angel Whittlesey Aflac’s Digital Enrollment Support Analyst, who volunteered alongside husband Marlon, an Aflac Senior HR Investigations Consultant. The couple handed out strength bracelets and helped patients design and select beads for their own origami crane strand necklaces. Others manned bead stations with activities honoring siblings and parents, and some handed out Certificates of Courage and helped patients weigh their bead collections.

“I was happy to see how positive the patients and families were,” said volunteer Jalisa Jakes, Aflac’s Associate Talent Recruiter. “It reminded me to be more mindful of being positive. Don’t take life for granted.

“Cherish every moment.”

Visit the Beads of Courage website to find out more about and to donate to the program.

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