Childhood Cancer Awareness: Celebrating Keagan’s Collection

Keagan Provost, 6, has a bead for every milestone in his cancer treatment. How else would he be able to easily tell you that he’s had exactly 137 doses of radiation? Those beads glow in the dark, of course. Nestled near them are 323 light green beads that mean he’s had exactly that many X-rays and scans, too.

Mom Robin Unwer knows because she recently counted and restrung all of Keagan’s 2,372 beads. Every last one of them is special to her, but together they make a mighty strong statement: Keagan is a fighter!

The Beads of Courage program, which is available to patients in Hematology/Oncology, gives children like Keagan a way to track their journeys through long-term medical care.

He is one of the 250 patients battling cancer in Arkansas Children’s care. Each year, ACH diagnoses about 100 new cases of cancer in children, treating 90 percent of the pediatric cancer cases in the state.

September marks National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Arkansas Children’s hosts a variety of activities to support these young

est of warriors.

The Superhero Dash n Bash on Sept. 10 raises funds to support Hematology/Oncology families with superhero-themed activities perfect for kids of all ages! The event kicks off at 9 a.m. at Murray Park on Rebsamen Road in Little Rock.

Keagan benefits from support programs like Beads of Courage year-round, though.

The beads help Keagan explain to his friends exactly what it is he’s been going through. Keagan has fought spine and brain tumors nine times, and has undergone 53 surgeries, 30 of them on his brain.

Keagan’s beads loop around his IV pole, which also sports his medical credential – he’s known on the Hematology/Oncology Unit as “Dr. Kookie.” This future physician says the bumpy beads that indicate medication or mobility challenges are among his favorites.

And Robin knows exactly which bead is most dear to her: the purple heart Keagan received in July. It signified the end of his current treatment!