What We Do

Beads of Courage®

Shine On! Kids is proud to provide the Beads of Courage® Program in Japan as sole representative and International Partner of Beads of Courage® Inc.

Beads of Courage®, a form of arts-in-medicine, was developed by pediatric oncology nurse Jean Baruch in the United States. The Beads of Courage® Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen the protective resources for children coping with serious illness.

What is it?

How does it work?

Children fighting cancer and other serious illnesses receive colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage to commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. Each bead tells a story of strength, honor, and hope.


The patients keep a record of all of their treatments in their Bead Diary. Designated medical professionals (including nurses, clinical psychologists, and child life specialists) are trained by Shine On! Kids to become Bead Ambassadors. These Ambassadors meet with each child once a week to talk about their treatments that week, listen to the children talk about how they feel, and together go through the Bead Diary and collect the child’s beads.

On average, a child undergoing treatment for cancer will collect about 900 beads in one year of treatment. The beads themselves are high-quality glass, ceramic and polymer—strung together, they are both beautiful and very heavy. The weight and length of the bead strands also serve as a reminder of the long and courageous journey these young people must embark upon to get better.

Strand length represents ONE WEEK of treatment

There are also a number of very special courage beads collected along the way. These beads, handmade and donated by Japanese bead artists, are given during a particularly challenging time for the child … not as a reward, but as a reminder that they have been courageous enough to get through that challenge!

Shine On! Kids provides all of the materials and training to implement and ensure the ongoing quality of the program at each of the 23 hospitals currently executing Beads of Courage® in Japan.

Hospital List

  1. October 2009: Ibaraki Children’s Hospital
  2. May 2010: Osaka City General Hospital
  3. March 2011: Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Medical Center
  4. May 2011: Chiba University Hospital
  5. May 2011: Kobe University Hospital
  6. June 2011: Shimane University Hospital
  7. January 2012: Sapporo Medical University Hospital
  8. February 2012: Tokyo Medical and Dental University, University Hospital of Medicine
  9. February 2012: Japanese Red Cross Osaka Hospital
  10. October 2012–March 2014 (no longer implementing): Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital
  11. December 2012: Hyogo Prefectural Kobe Children’s Hospital
  12. April 2013: Japanese Red Cross Narita Hospital
  13. June 2013: Japan Community Health Care Organization Chukyo Hospital
  14. September 2014: Child Chemo Clinic
  15. January 2015: Shizuoka Children’s Hospital
  16. September 2015: Keio University Hospital
  17. September 2015: Kochi Health Sciences Center
  18. November 2015: The Jikei University Hospital
  19. June 2016: Kyushu Cancer Center
  20. August 2018: National Cancer Center Hospital
  21. September 2018: Okinawa Prefectural Nanbu Medical Center / Child Medical Center
  22. April 2020: University of Tsukuba Hospital
  23. April 2020: Yokohama City University Hospital
  24. October 2020: Japanese Red Cross Wakayama Medical Center



Running a race, doing a big swim, climbing a mountain, studying for a big exam? Carry a Bead that will be given to one of our kids in the Beads of Courage® Program in Japan!

Learn More

The Shine On! Kids’ Beads of Courage® Program is in 22 hospitals in Japan! Help us make this program a standard part of patient care in ALL children’s hospitals.

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For any inquiries regarding this program, please do not contact the hospitals directly. Contact Shine On! Kids: info@sokids.org

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