Health & Wellness

Courage & Confidence For Kids With Chronic Pain

When people think about chronic pain, their first instinct is to think about adults, whether their elderly parents or grandparents, an adult they know that has been hurt due to an accident or injury, or an adult who suffers from a disease or condition.

At Bowtie Kids, when they think about chronic pain, their first thought is children and their families. They know that 1 in 4 children experience chronic pain, which causes a ripple effect on the entire family and their network. Bowtie Kids – Courage & Confidence for Kids with Chronic Pain is an impact-driven, for-purpose organization committed to enhancing the lives of youth suffering from chronic pain and their families.

Karen Prescod, the C.E.O. and Founder, knows their journey well. In her late teens and early twenties, she began having unexplainable pain. Her pain consisted of uncomfortable aches, numbness, headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain, along with fuzzy and blurred vision. After being undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for many years, she finally got answers and a diagnosis, which only served as the beginning of her chronic pain journey.

When you see her today, you can’t imagine the challenges she had to overcome. Two neck surgeries left her with C4-C7 fused and a spinal implant in her back to block the pain sensations from traveling to her brain. After her second surgery, the pain was worse coming out than when she went in. She had to learn to walk again, lost her freedom, and the weight of the impact that chronic pain had on her and those around her consumed her relationships and her will to live. For her, to live in a state of constant pain at a level ten, with no relief, was not living.

After trying to end everything, Karen began to put her mind, body, and life back together. It started with her asking why and questioning her purpose. She changed her thinking and took her health needs into her own hands instead of accepting what the doctors told her. In the process, she changed her diet, started the practice of meditation, and recognized that the health and well-being of her plants reflected her health and well-being.

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Like many, Karen’s struggles and pain set the stage for her to get the answers she was searching for. While in meditation, she received a message to start an organization to help kids living with chronic pain, and Bowtie Kids was born.

Chronic pain is an invisible disability that makes children, and their families feel isolated and alone, only compounding their feelings of fear and hopelessness. That’s where Bowtie Kids steps in to remind children
that they are more than their diagnosis, illness, condition, or injury. Their mission is to transform lives by inspiring courage and confidence in youth living with chronic pain and supporting their families through personal development, community building, and gardening to help them build a sustainable quality of life.

Using what she learned on her journey, Karen planted the seeds to become the foundation upon which all Bowtie Kids programming grows. Self-Discovery, Self-Awareness, Self-Worth, Self-Expression, and Social Engagement & Advocacy are the five empowerment principles that are the key elements of their programming. By incorporating these fundamental principles into everything they do, Bowtie Kids uses them to increase the social and emotional learning capacity of children impacted by chronic pain and their families to reduce the levels of anxiety, depression, isolation, poor self-concept, poor self-expression, opioid addiction, and the rates of suicide through interactive and experiential learning.

For parents with children living with chronic pain, Bowtie Kids is a place where you can go and are welcome just as you are no matter what stage you are at in your journey. Bowtie Kids provides enrichment programming to increase the social and emotional learning capacity of children ages 5-21. Their enrichment programs are designed to promote self-efficacy, develop resilience, and foster an awareness of self and others.

Their three programs include:

– K.E.E.S. (Kids Experiencing Empowered Support) Club, their monthly club where children suffering from chronic pain and their families come together in a fun and uplifting environment to build a system of support while engaging in activities that allow them to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space. Creating an environment of exploration, discovery, acceptance, and empowerment, they help them create a foundation to
build a sustainable quality of life.

-Bowtie Gardens is a 5-month STEM-based, urban farming program that aspires to create a fun, educational, supportive community for kids and their families so that they can better manage the disruptions they face that result from chronic pain. What better way to teach important life lessons than through experiential learning? By creating and reflecting on the connections between gardening, their bodies, relationships, community, and life, we find meaningful ways to build bridges between children with chronic pain to themselves, others, and the world around them. In doing so, the psychological and social burdens that disconnect children impacted by chronic pain from the community are eased by seeing themselves reflected in the vegetables and fruits they plant and nurture.

Through gardening, they can understand the Interconnectedness of plants as a metaphor for self-empowerment,
self-improvement, and self-reflection. Children and their families learn tools to manage the disruptions resulting from chronic pain better and no longer see themselves in isolation but as active members of a larger community that they can confidently embrace.

-Ways of BEing is their newest program designed to provide support and services to youth and families to address their total wellness. Their total wellness includes their mental well-being and physical health. Through their Ways of BEing program, Bowtie Kids partners with service providers to provide services and educate children impacted by chronic pain and their families about non-traditional, alternative remedies to support their holistic healing.

They are introduced to and experience various modalities to support their physical and mental health like chiropractic, breathwork, massage, craniosacral therapy, meditation, yoga, and acupuncture. In addition to these non-traditional forms of care, the Ways of BEing program provides access to food and other basic needs to help them focus on healing their minds and bodies as they work to overcome chronic pain challenges.

Bowtie Kids creates a space for participants to create shifts in thinking to change the conversation to WHO THEY ARE, not what they suffer from or what condition they have.

“Being there for the children and families we serve is personal. I know what they are facing because of my chronic pain journey, and they need to know that they are not alone! Wearing a bowtie is a powerful statement; it’s about being courageously confident! We design spaces and create opportunities for children impacted by chronic pain to regain their confidence to experience the freedom of childhood,” said Karen Prescod, C.E.O. & Founder.

Every child living with chronic pain and their families should feel supported and have access to the resources needed to help them get back to being children and families back to being families. To learn more or enroll in their upcoming Bowtie Gardens program, visit www.bowtiekids.org or call 888-884-9195 today.

Wendi Blum

Wendi Blum

Wendi Blum is a transformational leader and mentor devoted to empowering you to create your best life and business by design. Website: WendiBlum.com Email: [email protected] Phone: (954) 214-5649

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