Melinda Gee/Beads of Courage

Melinda Gee, development coordinator for Beads of Courage, explains the program to spectators at a Mountain Pointe High girls volleyball game. Each Pride player carried colored beads during the season just ended, representing a child battling illnesses.

From August through the end of the season this month, each member of the Mountain Pointe High volleyball team carried colored beads in honor of Beads of Courage, an arts and medicine program for children battling illnesses.

The program is in 150 U.S. hospitals, and 200 worldwide. Each colored bead represents a different stage in a child’s fight against their illness.

“If a child has five black beads it means they have had five shots,” said Melinda Gee, a development coordinator for Beads of Courage. “If they have five white beads it means they had five chemotherapy treatments. It’s a visual representation of what they have gone through with their illness.”

Gee helped Mountain Pointe get started with the program, providing them with beads and a special card to explain the type of journey each player had while carrying them.

“The card asks them to say what happened while they were carrying the bead,” Gee said. “There’s also a space where they can write encouraging words and put their name and where they are from. It’s cool to see kids get a bead that has been on the other side of the country.”

Each player offered words of encouragement written on the card.

“My word was ‘fearless,’” said Kylie Wong, freshman setter for the Pride. “The word represents a lot in general.”

The Beads of Courage program hits close to home for Wong, who is cousins with Gee and an active supporter of the cause.

It was a team effort by the Pride to take part in the Beads of Courage program, but it’s something that brought the team together in its run to the playoffs.

“It’s special and it was close to home,” Pride coach Karen Gray said. “It was great we were able to do it.”

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