Contacting A Donor’s Family

Suggestions for Writing to Donor Families

  • Use simple language
  • Write information you feel comfortable sharing about yourself and your family. This may include your occupation, hobbies and your family situation such as marital status and children.
  • Recognize the donor and thank the family for their gift.
  • You may wish to tell how long you waited for a transplant and describe what the wait was like for you and your family.
  • Explain how the transplant has improved your health and share some of the activities that you are now able to participate in.
  • Share what has happened in your life since your transplant. Did you celebrate another birthday, graduate, get a new job or become a grandparent?

General Information

  • You may include first names of yourself and your family, give the state in which you reside and provide photographs.
  • Keep identities anonymous and confidential.  Do not include any last names, street addresses, city names, phone numbers, names of hospitals or physicians.

Mailing Your Card or Letter

  • Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope.
  • Your full name
  • The date of your transplant
  • Place these items in another envelope and mail to your transplant center.
  • This process takes several weeks so allow extra mailing time.

Once You Have Mailed Your Card or Letter

  • Letters may be reviewed to ensure confidentiality.
  • Your letter will be forwarded to the donor family through your transplant center.
  • The donor family may then be contacted to request permission to forward the correspondence.
  • You may or may not receive a response from the donor family. Some donor families say that writing about their loved one and their decision to donate helps them in their grieving process. Other donor families, even though they are comfortable with their decision to donate, prefer privacy and may not be emoitionally ready to write to the transplant recipients.