Bravery Bags

What Is A Bravery Bag?

A Bravery Bag is a bag given to families in the hospital after their child has had heart surgery or other heart procedures.  When a child needs a heart surgery or procedure, the whole family has to be very brave—the child himself/herself, the parents or caregivers, and any siblings.  The Bravery Bag helps the family have courage and strength through this time of crisis and to know they are not alone.

Need for Bravery Bags

About 1 in every 110 babies is born with a heart defect each year (approximately 40,000) making it the most common birth defect in the U.S.  Nearly 25% of these children will need open-heart surgery or other procedures to survive.  Many times, families find out suddenly about their child’s heart defect and the need for surgery after birth, and the babies is whisked away by helicopter or ambulance to a hospital in another city or state.  Parents and caregivers often follow the baby, sometimes with little more than the contents of their wallet or purse.

Bravery Bag Contents

Mended Little Hearts peer-to-peer support groups provide Bravery Bags to families in the hospital to help make their stay easier and to let them know they are not alone.  These adorable, reusable bags contain a water bottle (BPH-free and made in the U.S.), a stuffed lion with its birth certificate, the Courageous Heart Token, a pen, a wristband and a parent resource guide.  The groups add toiletry items, comfort items, and items for siblings at a local level in accordance to hospital guidelines.  Families often tell us how much it means to them to get a Bravery Bag and how useful the items in the bag are to them.  Receiving a bag also lets the family know that someone cares about them and that they are not alone.

We Could Use Your Help

Mended Little Hearts’ Bravery Bag goal is 10,000 bags in 2015—that is one for each baby born with a heart defect that needs surgery or a heart procedure each year.  Currently, Mended Little Hearts gives bags to over 5,500 families, but we believe that all families should receive a bag to help them through this difficult and sometimes devastating time.  With your help and support, we can give bags to 100% of kids and families in the hospital after heart surgeries and procedures. turn

To help us fill these bags please email

Or to learn more about our bags, please contact our Bravery Bag Coordinator Gretchen Foltz at