For cancer patients, beaded necklaces bring hope - FOX Carolina 21

For cancer patients, beaded necklaces bring hope

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Maria Herrera holds up her Strand of Strength, completed Tuesday (FOX Carolina) Maria Herrera holds up her Strand of Strength, completed Tuesday (FOX Carolina)
Each bead represents a procedure in a patient's fight against cancer (FOX Carolina) Each bead represents a procedure in a patient's fight against cancer (FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Just days before the holiday season begins, Maria Herrera is celebrating a milestone in her long fight with ovarian cancer - a milestone that can be worn around her neck. 

"I'm so proud of my necklace" said Herrera, as she placed the final bead on a necklace she made to document her fight. She's a patient at Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center in Greenville. There, a program called Strands of Strength is helping cancer patients with a unique and colorful way to keep track of their journey. 

"It makes you really excited because it is progress," Herrera said. "It's a lot of hope."

Herrera's journey began in 2014, when doctors discovered she had stage 4 ovarian cancer. She did several treatments and soon went into remission. But it would not last. 

"I had a pain on my hip, and it just so happened that a tumor had formed on my hip," she recalled. 

After several rounds of radiation therapy, indicated by a lot of green beads on her Strands of Strength necklace, Herrera said she has completed radiation treatments this go-round. She hopes it will be her last treatment ever. 

Strands of Strength provides color-coded beads to patients. For each procedure during their journey with cancer, they receive a certain colored bead. For example, a radiation treatment gets them a green bead. 

Tuesday, Herrera placed her final bead on her Strands of Strength necklace, a silver piece that indicates the treatment is over. 

For Herrera, it's a small token that indicates a huge triumph. 

"I'm not in excruciating pain like I was a few months ago," said Herrera with a smile. "This is hope that you are going to get better," she said, pointing to her necklace. 'You are doing something to get better."

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