Woodworkers craft special gifts for ETCH patients
When children visit East Tennessee Children's Hospital with chronic illnesses like cancer they get a bead for things like shots, drawing blood or surgeries. All the beads are stranded together making necklaces called "Beads of Courage."
It's not the jewelry most girls desire, but Emma Daniel's Beads of Courage are a badge of honor.
"They help me feel proud," she said.
Daniels is in remission from Leukemia. She still has treatments every other week and chemotherapy for two more years.
Which means more beads will come.
"They help me have courage," she added.
While she is building her courage, groups from five different woodworking groups across East Tennessee are building something special.
"Where do the kids put their beads? So we started making things to keep their beads in," said ETCH volunteer and woodworker Drue Hogland.
Hogland introduced the idea to the various woodworking groups. Over the past two years, they have collectedly crafted and donated more than 250 boxes to patients.
"I get a great satisfaction out of making something that I can give away to someone else," said Dan Sauer from Cumberland County Woodturners.
"It's inspiring and humbling to understand why these kids have to go through what they do and anything we can do to cheer them up or give them some hope is what the message is," said David Brunson from Tellico Village Woodworkers Club.
The children get to pick their favorite box. Every one is different but every box includes a special Beads of Courage bead.
"To be able to put a beautiful box and the beads to put a positive on a negative situation helps take their minds off of something that are going on," said Stephen Shankles of the East Tennessee Woodworkers Guild.
"The smiles on the children's faces and that just warms your heart and especially if it's your piece then it's even double the joy to see them take something that you've put your heart into," added Jake Niedling from Smoky Mountain Woodturners.
Every time Daniels earns another bead, it's not just her necklace that grows, it's her courage.
"They people made a special box so I can put them in. I like it," she said. "So they can stay safe and not get lost."