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Friends of PACC and Beads of Courage join forces to benefit children and pets!

Friends of PACC and Beads of Courage join forces to benefit children and pets!

Many great non-profits are participating in the 2022 El Tour de Tucson on Saturday, Nov.  19. Our Friends of PACC Fund-riders have raised tens of thousands of dollars in the last few years to help support animals in our community. Throughout our involvement in El Tour de Tucson, we have met many wonderful people and organizations working to make the world a better place for animals — and humans! We are incredibly proud to be involved again in this world-class bicycle event — in our beautiful city of Tucson.

This year we are partnering with another great local non-profit, Beads of Courage. Our goal is to coalesce and strengthen the power of the human-animal connection. After all, animal welfare is human welfare. Since Beads of Courage’s original program in 2003, the organization has established over 400 programs in over 300 children’s hospitals in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Japan. Their growth is proof of the need for the type of support Beads of Courage provides for children coping with serious illnesses.

Beads of Courage helps children and young adults—receiving treatment for a severe illness—record, tell, and own their stories using symbolic beads. Every Beads of Courage® program integrates the use of beads. One of the earliest art forms known to humans was the use of tangible symbols to express their human experiences. To imbue an inanimate object with personal meaning is one of the many healing powers of art. Through Beads of Courage, stories of incredible bravery can and deserve to be expressed. Every exchange of a bead means courage is honored, suffering alleviated, resilience strengthened, and the experience of human caring affirmed.

You’re probably wondering, “How does this relate to Friends of PACC and the animals we support? We have hundreds of pets with stories to be told! The beads will travel far and wide to reach the children—and the stories of the animals along with them! Beads of Courage has a program called “Pet Carry a Bead,” in which you receive a kit that includes a matched set of two beads on a pin, a bandana for your pet to wear, and a story card.

The idea is that you take those beads with you on a chosen activity, e.g., walking a dog, riding your bike, hiking with a pet, or any adventure you choose! You keep the first bead; the child receives the second bead. Then, write about your experience on the enclosed story card and return it with the second bead; this can be a note written by you or told in your pet’s voice! Your compassion, love, and good intentions are infused into the beads. The beads are then packaged with the story card and given to a child coping with a severe illness. The child will add the bead to their Beads of Courage—typically worn around the neck. The beads serve as an ever-present reminder that someone is thinking about them, fighting alongside them, and honoring their courage.

We all know the healing power of animals, and many of us have life-changing stories because of an animal. Imagine the impact our animals can have on these children’s lives. Remember, the children and teens Beads of Courage support are hospitalized for long periods. When you Carry a Bead, you share a special place you’ve been to or a fun experience you’ve had with a child needing a boost of encouragement on a tough treatment day. No experience is too big or too small to Carry a Bead.

Beads of Courage is generously providing “Pet Carry a Bead” kits for every one of our registered riders! Kits will be available to registered riders at Loop de Loop on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Rillito Park, 4502 N 1st Ave. Please stop by our booth and pick one up. Friends of PACC will have a table close to Beads of Courage. You can speak directly with them about their programs and the impacts their beads provide for the children.

Every chance we get to share our amazing animals with others provides us an opportunity to have another pet adopted through PACC. The collaboration with Friends of PACC and Beads of Courage proves we have a more significant positive impact when something is co-created with the help of the human-animal connection. We all share a fantastic community here in Tucson; let’s share it with the world! Help us help animals and children through love, compassion, and positive energy!