PITTSBURGH – February 25, 2014 – The Mario Lemieux Foundation will launch a Beads of Courage® Sibling Program in the Lemieux Sibling Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to support the siblings of children coping with a serious illness. There are more than 19 hospitals throughout the world that have implemented this Beads of Courage program, but Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is the first to have a Beads of Courage Sibling Program in a playroom dedicated only to siblings, supervised by a Child Life Specialist. On March 1st, the Mario Lemieux Foundation will host a launch party for this very special Beads of Courage program.
The Beads of Courage Sibling Program is made possible through a program partnership with Austin’s Playroom Project, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. The Sibling Program is designed to help siblings record, tell and own their story of courage as they journey alongside their brother or sister who is coping with a serious illness.
Siblings will receive a Beads of Courage Sibling Program Guide, the first bead and a string to place the beads. There are a total of 25 beads to achieve during a journey, and the collection serves as encouragement during challenging and joyous times. Siblings will begin the program with a special bead created to recognize the Mario Lemieux Foundation and honor their commitment as a source of support and encouragement to siblings and families.
Beads of Courage have programs implemented with many of Children’s patients, including those in the Heart Institute, Solid Organ Transplant, Hematology/Oncology, and Neurosurgery.
About The Mario Lemieux Foundation
The Mario Lemieux Foundation was created in 1993 after hockey legend and NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux survived Hodgkin’s disease. Nearly 21 years cancer free, Mario’s experience led him to focus on ways to assist those not so fortunate. The Lemieux Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and patient care, as well as Austin’s Playroom Project.
Austin’s Playroom Project was created as a result of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their profoundly premature infant son. As they were tending to Austin, there was no place to provide a comfortable calming environment and engage his sisters Lauren and Stephanie who were both toddlers at the time. It was then Mario and Nathalie realized a need for sibling playrooms and began their plan to establish Austin’s Playroom Project.
Austin’s Playrooms are created to give kids a chance to be kids during an otherwise stressful time. The playrooms allow families the ability to escape the burden of difficult or extended medical situations and focus on health and healing. To learn more visit www.mariolemieux.org
About Beads of Courage
The mission of Beads of Courage, Inc. is to provide innovative Arts-in-Medicine programs for children coping with serious illness, their families, and the healthcare providers 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 www.beadsofcourage.org