Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, announced today a strategic partnership with Beads of Courage, a nonprofit organization that provides arts-in-medicine programs for children and teens coping with cancer and other serious illness to decrease stress, encourage positive coping and self-esteem strategies during treatment.

The new partnership will further strengthen Northwestern Mutual’s national Childhood Cancer Program by providing support to children and families coping with cancer.

“Childhood cancer treatment is an emotional rollercoaster for the children and families involved, and keeping a child’s outlook positive is crucial to their outcome,” said Eric Christophersen, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “Beads of Courage has been incredibly successful in helping families move forward in their cancer journeys, and we’re thrilled to deepen our partnership with the organization.”

Through the Beads of Courage Program, children and teens receive colorful beads that visually commemorate treatment and procedure milestones they overcome while receiving treatment for cancer. The Beads of Courage Program is a standard of excellence in over 150 children’s hospitals in the U.S., helping children record, tell and own their stories of courage.

It is estimated that over 5,000 children and teens coping with cancer will receive Beads of Courage annually during their treatment journey thanks to Northwestern Mutual. The partnership will focus across three areas:

  • Activate the Beads of Courage Program at seven major children’s hospitals across the United States, including: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; Texas Children’s; Phoenix Children’s; Seattle Children’s; Hoops Family Children’s; St. Louis Children’s; and Peyton Manning Children’s.
  • Sponsor 1,400 Beads of Courage Sibling Program kits to support siblings that have a brother or sister coping with cancer and provide workshops for children, families, and clinicians in select children’s hospitals across the U.S.
  • Support the development of a new Beads of Courage Bead Strong Program that includes art directives and mindfulness for children in active treatment for cancer, to help minimize stress and anxiety during long hospitalizations.

Starting in July, Northwestern Mutual will be the presenting sponsor of the National Bead Challenge. The community is encouraged to support this campaign and be inspired by the mission of Beads of Courage through September 30.

“The diagnosis and treatment processes for childhood cancer is a very challenging time for children and their families, and every accomplishment and milestone, no matter how small, warrants recognition,” said Jean Gribbon, executive director of Beads of Courage. “We’re grateful to Northwestern Mutual for their support and are looking forward to furthering our shared mission of supporting the quality of life of children coping with cancer, their families and the clinicians who care for them.”

Northwestern Mutual launched its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012 to give all kids the chance to live life to the fullest by accelerating the search for pediatric cancer cures and providing family and survivor support. The Program has raised more than $14 million in the fight against cancer, funding more than 160,000 hours of research.

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Beads of Courage