Beads of Courage giving hope to young burn victims

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When children are admitted to the hospital, it can take a toll on the entire family. That’s why Parkland Hospital’s burn unit is part of a program providing hope for now and years to come.

Aside from the healing scars, it’s hard to tell 18-month-old Kartik Tanikella was severely burned in November.

“He was running around the house and he pulled the wires. So he ended up dumping the cooker, the half boiled rice with the boiling water on himself,” said Tejaswi Yellepeddi, his mother.

Kartik was referred to Parkland. His parents said the first 48 hours were the hardest.

“To watch him being pinned down with so many tubes to the bed was horrible,” his mom said.

But his stay went beyond traditional care. Parkland’s burn center is part of the worldwide Beads of Courage program.

The beads mark each milestone a child achieve along their treatment path.

“The yellow bead, this bead right here, just means how many days they stayed in the hospital. These beads are really cool and are probably one of the favorites because they're are glow in the dark and they're for x-rays, whenever a kid has an x-ray. They really like that bead,” said Meagan Young, a child life specialist at Parkland Hospital.

Young has formed a special bond with the children in her care.

“Beads of Courage talks about how it’s a great way for kids to record their own story and they can show how brave they were. I think it's great for them to look back and see because when there is a severe burn injury, sometimes they can't use their arms. They can't use their legs at first,” she said.

Kartik wears his beaded necklace every day. His parents said he may not know the meaning right now but eventually, he will.

“That would be something for him to see when he grows up. To see okay, I’ve been through so much. T can achieve so much more,” said Sesha Tanikella, his father.

The beads have given Kartick and his family a positive outlook during the difficult time.

"I think a lot depends on us, to give them that encouragement and everything because they don't know anything at this age,” Young said.

The handmade, one-of-a-kind glass beads are donated by members of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.