Writing to Donor Families
How is my donor’s family is doing? How do I find out?
Contact between a donor family and a recipient family is limited by the Legacy of Hope rules of confidentiality and privacy for all participants in the donation process. If both parties agree, written contact is accomplished by an exchange of letters through the Aftercare Coordinator, who acts as a third party. All correspondence is anonymous and identities are confidential. Keep identities anonymous and confidential by NOT including any last names, street addresses, city names, phone numbers, email addresses, names of hospitals or physicians. All letters will be screened for confidentiality and appropriateness. If there is a concern with your letter, an aftercare coordinator will contact you; so please make sure we have your contact information available. If you wish to send a card, letter or picture; you may send it to the address below or via the online form on this page.
I’d like to thank them for my “gift of life.” What should I say?
Always begin your letter with an acknowledgement of their profound loss. Then, write about information that you feel comfortable sharing about yourself, the nature of your illness, how long you waited for your transplant and how the transplant has affected your health, life and family. Tell them how much this second chance means to you. Feel free to discuss your occupation, hobbies or interests, perhaps special things you enjoy and information about your family. If you can’t put your feelings into words, look for a card that expresses your sentiment. What is important is that you write them. Donor families appreciate just hearing “Thank You”.
Will the donor family respond to my letter?
For some families, an opportunity to hear from the recipient about their transplant experience is appreciated. Other families, however, feel unable to express their emotion adequately on paper. There is no guarantee, therefore, that you will receive a response. The timing of a reply will vary with individual circumstances. You may receive a response quickly or perhaps later in the future. Please do not feel that your expression of interest is unwelcome. Your concern for these people who profoundly affected your life is greatly appreciated. Since some of the donor families live a great distance away, please allow several weeks for the exchange of correspondence to occur.
Feel free to use these documents as a guide for your own letter.