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(Birmingham) On July 19, 2013, Children's of Alabama will host a kickoff party for the launch of the Beads of Courage® program, an innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care program developed by the non-profit organization Beads of Courage, Inc. Through the Beads of Courage program, children coping with serious illness are able to record and tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that they receive to honor and acknowledge each step of their treatment journey.

Beads are given according to a program specific bead guide. For milestones in a child's treatment journey, Beads of Courage members receive handmade one-of-a-kind glass beads that are donated by artists of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Every bead a child receives tells a story of strength, honor and hope.

"The Beads of Courage Program provides a way to honor and acknowledge the incredible courage that children facing serious illness demonstrate every day," says Jean Baruch, Beads of Courage founder and executive director.

The Austin Shepherd Foundation is sponsoring the Beads of Courage Program for children receiving treatment for Cardiac Conditions, Burns, Solid Organ Transplant and Pulmonary Conditions at Children's. The kickoff party will include a time for patients and families to make a strength bracelet, receive their bead journal and begin their Beads of Courage collection while visiting a few of the members of the University of Alabama football team who will be there on behalf of The Austin Shepherd Foundation.

"We have worked very hard to raise money for the Child Life department at Children's of Alabama to use in the expansion of the Beads of Courage Program," says Jenna King, Director of the Austin Shepherd Foundation. "It's wonderful to be able to support a cause and a hospital that encourages children to tell their own stories of courage and perseverance. After each visit to Children's, we leave feeling inspired by the patients and staff and grateful for the opportunity to continue to make a difference."

About Beads of Courage, Inc.

The mission of Beads of Courage, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity) is to provide innovative arts-in-medicine programs for children coping with serious illness, their families, and the clinicians who care

for them. Beads of Courage® Programs aim to transform the treatment experience, strengthen resilience based outcomes, and improve the quality of life for participants as they experience the healing benefits of narrative medicine. Beads of Courage Programs currently support over 30,000 children in over 150 participating member hospitals in the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. More information is available at

About The Austin Shepherd Foundation

The Austin Shepherd Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Tuscaloosa-based charity that has been established to bring love, joy and hope to children at Children's of Alabama. Through monthly visits, fundraisers, football games and more, they seek to help children find a reason to live and fight through their ailments. All proceeds raised by the Austin Shepherd Foundation go direct to Children's. More information is available at

About Children's of Alabama

Children's of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children's has been ranked among the best children's hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children's from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children's offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham's Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children's South and Children's on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children's of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children's recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at

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