Writing to Your Donor’s Family
Many transplant recipients want to reach out to their donor’s family to thank them for sharing the selfless gift of organ, eye or tissue donation. Your decision to write a letter can be a healing experience for both you and your donor’s family.
If you are a tissue or cornea recipient, please refer to the instructions that were provided to you at the time of your transplant to send correspondence to your donor family.
If you received a solid organ transplant, you may send your correspondence through your transplant center or by using the online tool below. Please use the following suggestions as a guide.
If you need further assistance, please call LifeSource at 612-800-6100 or toll-free at 1-888-536-6283 and request to speak to one of our Donor Family Advocates.
Submit Correspondence Electronically
If you prefer to send your correspondence electronically, please fill out the form below.
Letter Writing FAQs
You may choose to write at any time after your transplant; there is no required “waiting period.”
Share anything that feels right to you. Transplant recipients often choose to write to their donor families to express their gratitude. Many donor families have said a card or personal note from their loved one’s recipient offers comfort.
Share general information:
- Your name.
- The state in which you live.
- Your job or occupation.
- Your hobbies or interests.
- Your family situation, such as marital status, children or grandchildren.
- If sharing your faith, please consider that the family may have different spiritual beliefs.
Talk about your transplant experience:
- Use simple language; refrain from using too much medical terminology.
- Recognize the donor family and thank them for their loved one’s gift.
- Describe how long you waited for a transplant.
- Share what the wait was like for you and your family.
- Explain how the transplant has improved your health and changed your life.
- Explain what has happened in your life since your transplant?
- Did you celebrate another birthday?
- Did your son or daughter marry?
- Did you become a parent or grandparent?
- Did you return to school or accept a new job?
Closing your letter:
- Sign your name (include your last name if you feel comfortable).
- If you’re interested in having direct contact with your donor family, include your contact information, so the donor family has the option to reach out to you directly, if they would like.
If you mail your correspondence to your transplant center, it then needs to be forwarded to LifeSource. Please allow extra time for it to reach your donor’s family. It may take several weeks after you’ve mailed it for the family to receive it.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive a response from your donor family.
Just as writing to your donor family is a deeply personal decision, so is the donor family’s decision about whether or not they write to their loved one’s recipients. Some donor families have said that writing about their loved one and their decision to donate helps them in their grief journey. Other families may not be ready to write or respond to their loved one’s recipients.
Either way, your written correspondence to your donor family is a unique opportunity to thank them for their, or their loved one’s, decision to donate.
Donor families have shared that donation is often the only positive to come from the death of their loved one. Your card or letter reaffirms to them that donation saves lives and that their loved one’s gift was truly appreciated.
If you would like to communicate directly with your donor family, please express that in your letter and, if you feel comfortable, include your contact information so they can reach out to you. You might consider sharing your email address or phone number initially to see if they respond.
Please contact our Donor Family Advocates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.888.536.6283 if you have questions about initiating direct communication. We are happy to facilitate those next steps.
If you need further assistance writing to your donor’s family, please call LifeSource at 612-800-6100 or toll-free at 1-888-536-6283.