top of page

BUCK's BAGS | Care Packages for Families in the Hospital

While we were in our five-month hospital stay with Gabriel (AKA Buck) we sometimes came into our room to discover a care package donated by another family who experienced a journey similar to ours. Those care packages got us through hard days, weeks, and months. We don't know who donated the bags, or how to thank them, so our thanks is passing it on. We want to give back and encourage others who may not be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what the outcome of their hospital stay, we want families to know that others have been there and are thinking about them. We've created these bags specifically with "hospital families" in mind and include items that are specifically useful, give comfort, or help pass time. 


We are always accepting donations (items or cash to purchase items) for our Buck's Bags and looking for companies or corporations who can donate at a wholesale level. Please contact us for more information.

Items We Need:

  • Flexible cloth "bendy" smiling flowers

  • Footprint and other memento kits (inkless contact preferred)

  • Journals and pens

  • Water bottles (breastfeeding mothers need hydration!)

  • Socks (for mom or baby! The hospital is usually very chilly!)

  • Wubba Nub "binkies" (We received one, and Gabe LOVED his so much, we sent it with him when we said goodbye.)

  • Single serving snack packages

  • Lip balm

  • Sleep mask (you sleep when and where you can! Often that's in the back of a bright hospital room!)

  • Deck of cards

  • Baby clothes (specifically ones that button up or otherwise can wrap around feeding tubes and heart monitors etc

  • Baby hats (temperature control is important)

  • We're open to other suggestions as well! 

393 Bags & Counting!


HE WOULD HAVE BEEN... Send a birthday remembrance card for an angel.

When your child dies the world goes on, despite how much you want it to stop. Days and months pass and suddenly but slowly, it's been years. Over time, your loss seems a little more "normal," or at least may not be at the forefront of everyone's minds anymore - but bereaved parents live with a permanent hole in their heart. Every day is hard, but special days - birthdays and "angelversaries" can be, if possible, harder, because they bring back memories or floods of "what ifs." Every year on June 4th I think, "He would have been <#age> today," and wonder what life would have been like. I bought him a balloon for his 5th birthday and the shop worker asked his favorite color so he could tie a ribbon to it. I could only answer, "I don't know." These days are hard for parents, but made harder because the world around them keeps going. As time passes fewer people around you even know your loss or know that you are privately celebrating a birthday or mourning an angel day. It hurts even more to know (or at least think) that your baby isn't remembered by anyone but you or your immediate family and close friends. We want parents to know that their child might not be here, but they are not forgotten, and parents do not grieve alone. And, sometimes it's just nice to see your child's name once again on a piece of mail in the mailbox. The small things that disappear when you lose a child can be overwhelming when added together and we hope that we can help parents survive their new normal one day at a time.


If you know of a Heart Family who lost their warrior (child under age 18 please), nominate them for our mailing list. We will send annual birthday cards and angelverasry cards. Please be sure to include dates - complete with years so we know how old They Would Have Been. If you would like to sponsor the mailings, please consider making a $5 donation to cover the first year's set of cards and postage. At this time we are only accepting Cardiac / Heart Families. All information will be kept private and used only to send annual cards. Families will not receive any solicitations.


Stress Relief: Massages for Heart Moms!

Four months in to our stay at Vanderbilt Children's, I hit a brick wall and broke down crying in front of one of the social workers. I couldn't spend another day there, and felt like my entire life was falling apart trying to juggle the unending hospital stay, my son's ups and downs, another child at home, my marriage, and a full time job. She came back a little while later with a gift certificate for a massage just down the street from the hospital, and said to take an hour, leave the hospital, and think about myself so I could be refreshed to continue fighting for my son.  For that hour I felt closer to normal and stress free than I had in months. When I left the massage, I was ready to head back to the hospital and fight, no matter how much longer our inpatient stay was going to be! 


Heart on a String partners with businesses close to children's hospitals to provide services to inpatient heart moms who could use a break. A healthy and clear-headed mama can do more good for her child's fight than a stressed mama can! We provide massages, mani / pedis, hair treatments, and other gift certificates to specific, hand-picked parents facing a tough spot in their hospital stay. 


  • If you would like to donate a gift certificate, or offer a service in the vicinity of any children's hospital, please contact us

  • If you know of a mom with a long stressful stay in a pediatric cardiac unit, who could use a break, please send us her information and we'll do our best to connect her with a nearby company with a service to offer.

  • We also accept and distribute gift certificates for restaurants near children's hospitals and try to get both mom & dad out for a meal away.


Share some LOVE FROM THE ROAD! Donate travel-sized/hotel toiletries.

Families in the hospital are often not expecting to stay the night, or run out of supplies when they face a longer hospital stay than expected. The last thing they need to be doing is worrying about leaving their child to get to the store to pick up some soap or shampoo! It's tough enough to even get a shower in but personal care makes for a happy and less stressed parent, which leads toward a healthier baby!

Heart on a String, in conjunction with various concert tours, collects travel-sized or individually wrapped toiletries and personal care items which we donate to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses. If you travel often (musicians, business people, etc) please consider collecting your hotel room toiletries and donating them to Heart on a String.  If you are not in the Phoenix area, you can ship them to us, drop them off when you come through town (we'll meet you), or contact us to see if we can arrange pickup in another major city.


Many thanks to the following crew members for collecting and donating thousands of toiletries so far!

  • Jane's Addiction Tour Road Crew

  • Rolling Stones Tour Road Crew

  • Black Sabbath Tour Road Crew

  • Special thanks to crew members Marta and Michelle for arranging these donations!


Various companies offer opportunities for you to donate to your favorite charities during your every day shopping! Some opportunities are below. If you know of other companies with similar programs, or represent a company that would like to run a fundraiser (e.g. Scentsy, Jamberry, etc), please contact us.

Amazon Smile:


Already shop at Amazon? Put it to work! Designate Heart on a String as your charity of choice and use Amazon will donate a percentage of the purchase price to our organization! Amazon makes the donation; it doesn't cost you anything. Just visit instead of when you shop.* Everything else is the same! 


On your first visit to you can search for Heart on a String by name or enter 45-5211988. If you want to switch your existing charity to Heart on a String, just visit "Your Account" and choose "Change your Charity.


For more information, visit the FAQ section.


*If you forget and add items to your Amazon cart as usual, simply switch to before checking out. Your shopping cart transfers!

eBay Giving Works:


Do you have stuff laying around the house that you'd like to donate?  Do you have an eBay account?  Use eBay Giving Works to donate any percentage of your sale directly to Heart on a String. You can even save on fees by doing so! Or, add a donation to Heart on a String when you purchase other items on eBay.


For more information, to sell an item and donate a percentage, to add Heart on a String as a favorite charity on eBay (please do! It helps us to have followers!), or to buy something that will benefit Heart on a String, visit our eBay Giving Works page.


Remember - Heart on a String is a small and personal charity. That's how we like it! We are run 100% by volunteers and have very little overhead expenses. Your donation is not just a little extra change in the bank as it may be with larger organizations. Every donation makes a direct impact, and is noticed by a family in need. 

Amazon Smile:


We are happy to accept monetary or merchandise donations. 
(View our wish lists: Buck's Bags or Love from the Road.) 

AZ RESIDENTS! Heart on a String is an Arizona Qualifying Charity! Your donation is eligible for a tax credit up to $800!** (QCO ID Code 20709)


Give securely via PayPal (also accepts credit / debit cards) HERE.


Let Amazon donate for you with

Donate a percentage of eBay sales with Giving Works.

Mail a check or merchandise to Heart on A String, 30 E Brown Rd Box 2099, Mesa, AZ 85201

(makes checks payable to "Heart on a String")


Please include mailing or email address and merchandise value for a tax receipt.

All donations received by Dec 31, will receive a receipt dated for that year's taxes.

**We are an Arizona Tax Credit Qualifying Charitable Organization and AZ filers can receive up to $400 single / $800 joint in tax credit on their state returns for donations to Heart On A String. For more details visit the state's FAQ page.


bottom of page