Each year, Beads of Courage hosts a Virtual Pet Parade, showcasing YOUR beloved dogs, cats, turtles, horses, and other assorted pets as they wear beads in honor of children and teens coping with serious illness. (No actual parade marching required.) We want your pictures and to show the world how amazing your pet is–while also supporting young patients who receive beads through Beads of Courage.

All About Carry a Bead
Carry a Bead
is a way for people to support the mission of Beads of Courage by wearing a set of matching glass beads during a hike, a sports event, a vacation, or any other activity that brings a smile to their faces.

At the end of the activity, the supporter (you!) sends one of the two beads back to Beads of Courage along with a completed Story Card summarizing the journey the bead has been on and sending good wishes to the bead’s final recipient. Beads of Courage then sends the bead and Story Card off to one of the over 60,000 children and teens who receive beads every single day.

This bead that you have worn, and your kind words will become a part of their strand of strength and story–and intentional act of kindness and encouragement on your part.

Carry a Bead: Pet Edition
What does all this have to do with PETS? A few years back, we at Beads of Courage were thinking about where humans can find pure love, constant support, and endless kindness–and our beloved pets emerged as clear sources.

We decided to open our Carry a Bead program to the animals in our lives, creating a Carry a Bead: Pet Edition Kit. Now your pets can lend their support to children, sometimes half a world away, by wearing these beads during a happy adventure–a walk, a trip to the park, a family vacation, or even a simple game of fetch. Upon completion, you can help your pet write a note of support from their perspective, wishing a Beads of Courage Member well and sharing their joy and love from afar.

Virtual Pet Parade
Humans and their Pets (more like Pets and their Humans) can take part in their respective Carry a Bead activities year-round. What makes this time of year special is that May 5th – May 11th, 2024, is National Pet Week, and we celebrate by showcasing the pets who participate in Carry a Bead online.

Supporters vote on their favorites and all the pets showcased in an annual Watch Party Event on May 11th. If you and your pets have participated recently, or plan to during the next month, then upload some pictures or videos to be included in the voting and the final event video–our Virtual Pet Parade.

Voting is open now, and there is still time to get your Carry a Bead: Pet Edition kit, have your adventure, and upload your happy digital memories in time to be included. Submissions and voting are open until May 9th, 2024.

Why Carry a Bead?
The Carry a Bead program in all its Editions is a wonderful way to participate in a personal and meaningful way. You are supporting Beads of Courage financially by purchasing your kit, with outreach by participating and sharing with your friends and family, and then providing program materials (the bead you send back) that go directly to a young patient.

We hope that you’ll participate in whichever edition best suits you (Hiking, Biking, Running, Seasonal, First Responder, Military, and others), and that your PET will join you by wearing the beads we’ve created just for them with the Pet Edition kit.

Let’s Summarize!

  • Carry a Bead is an awesome way to support Beads of Courage and the young patients we serve. YOU and your PETS can participate.
  • Order Your Carry a Bead: Pet Edition Kit / Upload Your Pics / Vote on contestants here:
  • Share the event (and ALL of our stuff–please–we love it!–Sharing is Caring!) with everyone you know! 😉
  • Watch the Virtual Pet Parade on May 11th at 4:00 pm ET to see YOUR pet virtually paraded across the screen–and see if you are a winner! The event will last approximately 45 minutes and be live-streamed on our YouTube channel:
  • You can vote once a day from now until May 9th, so keep coming back to see all the new submissions.

Remember, you can participate in all our Carry a Bead programs throughout the year! Be sure to check out all our Special Editions of Carry a Bead kits here: We’re grateful for your support!