(CNN) – Beads may seem like just small things on a string, but for kids battling cancer, they can mean so much more.
This is the Aflac Cancer Center at children’s healthcare of Atlanta. Each one of these beads represents some sort of treatment for a child with cancer, all part of a nationwide program called beads of courage.
These particular strands belong to eight-year-old Gage Tanner, “It gives him something to look forward to, something to do because we’re in the hospital and he can bead his strings,” said Candie Tanner, Gage’s mom.
In the two years since he was diagnosed, Gage has taken more than 500 chemo treatments, and for each one, he got a bead. He’s also gotten a bunch for stays in the ICU, IV sticks, physical therapy and losing his hair.
”For some kids it’s a way for them to kind of without putting into words, show what they’ve been through. For really young kids who have been through this it’s a way for their parents to kind of record this and show them at a later time,” said Molly Wilson, child life specialist.
That’s especially important for Gage, whose twin brother, Gavin, isn’t always with him at the hospital, but through it all he’s been a trooper.
Copyright CNN 2015