Tales of Courage
A ‘really cool’ gift
I love my Beads of Courage necklace. When I was sick in the hospital, the beads were very important to me. They helped me not to worry about bad stuff and made it easy for me to talk about my hospital stay. After I left the hospital, the beads still help me, because they make me remember that I handled my surgery like a superhero. I also got to meet a super cool glass bead artist at the National Bead Challenge Day. He even custom-made a bead for me!
— Patrick, 13, of Pittsburgh
A ‘bumpy’ ride
Abby was diagnosed with VATER syndrome when born. Now 6, she has had more than 30 surgeries. Abby looks forward to each bead she earns since becoming part of the Beads of Courage Program. Abby would prefer not to earn any beads, of course, but is so proud of herself when she does something that earns one for her.
She realizes that certain things earn beads, but seems to be amazed when she does earn one. For instance, we change her colostomy bag almost every day. It is an uncomfortable to her skin, but after all is said and done, she is so proud of herself that she did it and earned a bead.
Her favorite beads change, but right now, it’s the “bumpy” beads. She loves all of her beads and is so proud of all of them.
Abby’s brother, Darren, who is 8 has his own beads – which he earned for being such a supportive big brother through the sibling program. Darren is happy he can share in the bead program with Abby and they often compare and talk about the beads they have earned.
Thank you for the opportunity to help my children understand what they do for themselves and each other is something to be proud of.
— Christine Marie Johnson, mom
A family gives thanks
“Our family has been so blessed by the Palermo foundation. They have helped us financially and given us wonderful opportunities to do fun activities as a family. We have four children, three of whom have neurofibromatosis. This disease requires many medical trips for procedures and treatments.”
“While at the hospital, we were introduced to Palermo Heart to Heart. This program has brightened our kids’ faces. Our daughter Michaela has had to have many chemo treatments, which are very hard for a child to go and face on a sometimes daily basis but with the Beads of Courage program in place, she was so excited to see each bead she was going to get that day and add it to her strand of beads to tell her long journey in life.”
“We cannot thank Palermo Heart to Heart enough for all it has done for our family and many others, by what they do and who they are personally. They are a wonderful family and we are so blessed to have them be part of our lives.”
-– Andrea Nagel, mom
A president and his passion
Palermo Heart to Heart President Dave Palermo compared looking into the eyes of a chronically ill child to peeking into those of a 30-year-old.
“The young patients are wise beyond their years, and have been through hardships that nobody should ever have to go through,” he said.
“Some of these children understand that they will not see their next birthday – and they can talk to you about it. That’s why it is so important for our organization to continue to support seriously ill youngsters and others as it has done for the past 25 years.”
– Dave Palermo, president, Palermo Heart to Heart
More than a good sport
“Working with the Beads of Courage program through Palermo Heart to Heart has been an absolute joy. Seeing the strength and happiness the children live with is a true inspiration. Listening to them tell their stories through their beads is an incredible experience and shows how much this program helps these young children through challenging times.”
strong>– Paul Thompson, former forward with Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins, currently with the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils