As International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month unfolds in September, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is proud to bring the Cancer Bead Necklace (Kadena di Heroe / Kanjerketting) program to the heart of Curaçao. This initiative, offered in partnership with the Association for Children with Cancer Netherlands (VKK), symbolizes the incredible journey undertaken by our young oncology patients. The Cancer Bead Necklace initiative has emerged as a profound source of inspiration and resilience during the formidable challenges of their treatment regimens. These chains often stretch for meters, with each bead adorning them representing a pivotal milestone in the arduous path towards recovery.
The Cancer Bead Necklace program presents a bead chain to children bravely battling cancer, acting as a reminder of their journey. Commencing with a single anchor bead, a symbol of hope, the chain carries the child’s name and is adorned with subsequent beads that signify various facets of their treatment.
What truly sets each Cancer Bead Necklace apart is the profound uniqueness of every child’s treatment journey, reflecting the individuality of their illness and therapeutic regimen. Each bead on the chain encapsulates a story – from the trials of chemotherapy sessions to the strength displayed during blood tests, from the highs and lows of their journey to the courage exhibited through hair loss and radiation therapy, and numerous other significant moments along their road to recovery.
When a child is diagnosed with childhood cancer, they often embark on a journey to the Netherlands for their primary treatment. While these young warriors receive beads to mark their treatment milestones during their stay in the Netherlands, there has been no established process to continue adding beads to their Cancer Bead Necklace upon their return to Curaçao. This gap has left a poignant void in the hearts of these children who have demonstrated immense bravery in the face of cancer’s formidable challenges.
Starting this month, with each pediatric oncology patient’s visit for a check-up or treatment, the attending physician, in collaboration with RMHC, will have the privilege of selecting the appropriate beads to augment the child’s Cancer Bead Necklace. This cherished tradition ensures that we persistently honor and celebrate the remarkable journey undertaken by these young champions.
RMHC extends heartfelt gratitude to our community and the funds raised for childhood cancer. With your support, RMHC can now elevate its commitment to the cause by providing travel expense reimbursements, fostering patient and parent support groups, and now, extending the provision of Cancer Necklace beads, among other essential support services.
Furthermore, RMHC is elated to announce that in the near future, they will have the honor of crafting and introducing two distinct beads that will embody the essence of our island of Curaçao. “We firmly believe that by extending the Cancer Bead Necklace program to Curaçao, we can bestow upon our young patients a tangible symbol of their strength and resilience, illuminating their path in the fight against cancer,” shared Claudia Rigaud, the Director of RMHC.