Writing to Recipients
The decision to write to is a personal choice. Sometimes, donor families choose to write to recipients to share information about their loved one and themselves. For some, this sharing may help in their grieving process. It may help to know that transplant recipients consistently express appreciation for the letters that they receive and welcome learning about the person who is responsible for their renewed health and hope.
A note about Writing to Tissue Recipients:
Unlike organ donation, there is not a mandatory requirement for tissue transplant surgeons to share information about their patients and most tissue banks do not have a correspondence program in place at this time. If your loved one was a tissue donor, please feel free to call us to see if correspondence is a possibility for you. Please contact our Aftercare Services at (781) 373-7945 or email us at AC@neds.org and we will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.
“Where do I start?”
Write what you feel comfortable sharing about your loved one and other family members. This may include marital status, occupation, hobbies, interests, or perhaps special things your loved one liked. You may want to write about how the donation decision has impacted you, your family and your community. Carefully consider religious comments as the views of the recipients are unknown.
We recommend that initially you keep identities anonymous and confidential. Avoid including last names, street addresses, city names and phone number or names of hospitals/physicians. Use simple language and communicate in a sensitive manner.
“Will I hear back from the transplant recipients?”
You may or may not receive a response to your letter. Some recipients like to wait for their surgery to heal somewhat before writing. Others feel overwhelmed with emotion at the gift they have been given and have difficulty expressing their gratitude through written communication. It could take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing. We have found that most recipients find comfort in hearing from their donor’s family first as this lets them know that you are ready to have contact with them.
“Can I have direct contact with my loved one’s recipients?”
If and when both parties (donor family and recipient) have expressed a desire to have direct contact, New England Donor Services can assist in this process. This type of contact offers you the opportunity to write directly to the recipients without having to pass correspondence through our office. Additionally you may have the option to speak directly with the recipients or possibly meet them. Your interest in direct contact should be put in writing and sent to either via regular mail or email to the address below.
“Who do I contact if I still have questions?”
Contact Aftercare Services phone: (781) 373-7945 or email: AC@neds.org
“Where do I mail my card or letter?”
Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. On a separate sheet of paper, please write your full name and mailing address, your loved one’s name along with date of donation. This information will not be forwarded to the recipient.
Mail both your letter or card along with information sheet in one envelope to:
New England Donor Services
60 First Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451