Writing to Your Donor Family:
The decision to correspond with your donor’s family is a very personal one. Donor families welcome and appreciate communication. When you acknowledge the donor family’s loss and express your gratitude, you confirm that their loved one’s gift was meaningful. Remember, there are no wrong words; even a simple thank you is appreciated.
We recommend that initially you keep identities anonymous and confidential. Avoid including last names, street addresses, city names, phone number, email or social media or names of hospitals/physicians. Use simple language and communicate in a sensitive manner. You may include a photo of yourself.
“How do I begin?”
¨ Open your card or letter with “Dear Donor Family”
¨ Acknowledge and express sympathy for the donor family’s loss
¨ Express gratitude for the gift of life
¨ Write what you feel comfortable sharing about yourself and other family members. This may include occupation, hobbies, interests, and what led to your need for a transplant, etc.
¨ “I offer my condolences for the loss of your loved one.”
¨ “I would like to offer my sincere gratitude for the gift of life.”
¨ “Please know I am forever grateful for the second chance this gift has given me.”
“Will I hear back from my donor’s family?”
You may or may not hear back from your donor’s family. Although they are often comforted by knowing how donation and transplantation has changed your life, they may not be ready to respond. When a donor family does make the decision to write, they tell us that writing to recipients and sharing their loved one’s story helps them with their grief and healing.
“Who do I contact if I still have questions?”
Aftercare Services: (781) 373-7945 or AC@neds.org
“Where do I mail my card or letter?”
“Can I send it via email?”
Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. On a separate sheet of paper, please write your full name and mailing address, transplant center/organ received and your date of transplant. This information will allow us to match you to your donor’s family and will not be forwarded to the family.
(if you prefer email, please include this information as well.)
Mail both your letter or card along with information sheet in one envelope to:
New England Donor Services
60 First Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
(if using email: AC@neds.org)
Making the Direct Communication Decision:
The decision to speak directly with or potentially meet your donor’s family may be an option for you. New England Donor Services will support and facilitate direct communication when both parties wish to move forward with this type of connection.
We strongly encourage you to begin with written communication. You may share your interest in having direct contact in one of your letters or cards.
Once letters have been exchanged between both parties and the decision to share personal identifying information has been made, our Aftercare Services department will assist you in moving forward with this connection.
You do not have to meet your donor’s family if you only wish to speak to them on the telephone or use email. You may also begin with these types of communication and move toward a meeting when the time feels right. We will work with whatever meets your needs.
If you have any questions regarding direct contact with your donor’s family please reach out to:
Donate Life Transplant Games:
The Donate Life Transplant Games is an Olympic-style athletic competition that raises organ and tissue donor awareness by displaying the talents and abilities of individuals who have undergone transplant surgeries, as well as honoring those who have given the gift of life. Competition events are open to organ transplant recipients, tissue transplant recipients, and living donors.
Join Team New England and share the incredible experience of meeting transplant recipients, living donors and donor family members from across the nation. It is an experience you will want to share with everyone!
For more information: www.transplantgamesofamerica.org