Courage Tiger’s Road Trip Day 13: Ohana Means Family

It has been thirteen busy days of traveling, and this morning I took a plane to Hawaii. On the way over here, I learned that Beads of Courage is at three different hospitals in Hawaii: Kaiser Permanente-Hawai’i, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, and Tripler Army Medical Center. Wow!

I got to enjoy the view from the beach as I talked to Maude, a super mom whose daughter Alyssa was part of our program. Alyssa was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor in 2005, and throughout her treatment, Alyssa collected lots of our beads, whether it was for staying at the hospital, chemotherapy, or being in the ICU. Even though her beads are over 37 feet long, she always had a favorite bead, a green Mickey Mouse bead that always reminded her of her trip to Disney World.

In 2006 after a stay in the ICU, Alyssa passed away at home. Maude told me that she thought there were no more beads for her to honor Alyssa’s journey, but then she received one more. A few weeks after Alyssa passed, Maude received a purple butterfly bead that symbolizes the change that has occured in the family and offers support during the bereavement process. Maude told me she was grateful for Beads of Courage because “when I thought that there would be nothing else from Beads, you showed up as a support system to help me cope.”

Maude told me that Alyssa’s legacy lives on through her Beads of Courage. Thanks, Maude, for sharing your story. I will be checking in from Alaska tomorrow, so be sure to check out my blog then to see who I talk to then! 


Courage Tiger’s 2017 Road Trip is a feature of the 9th Annual Bead Challenge, a three-month nationwide fundraiser and beadraiser for Beads of Courage. As the official Beads of Courage mascot, Courage Tiger is visiting all 50 states to highlight the incredible work our organization does by sharing stories of our courageous members, families, clinicians, and the caring community of artists and supporters who make our vital work possible. Please get involved in Bead Challenge 2017 by visiting www.beadchallenge.org today. Sign up to PARTICIPATE as a fundraiser, CREATE glass beads, or DONATE to the cause. With your help, we can Make Courage Roar for kids coping with serious illness! Many thanks to Bead Challenge 2017 presenting sponsor Northwestern Mutual and supporting sponsor Soda Lime Times.
– Contributed by Cristal Rogers, Marketing and Communications Intern, Beads of Courage