Carry a Bead Guest Blog Post – Paulette McGrew, Adventurer

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!