As a recipient, it is your personal choice whether to correspond with the donor family. In order to make this decision, it may be helpful for you to know that donor families consistently express their appreciation for the correspondences received from recipients and their families.
If you decide to write to the donor family, please communicate in a sensitive manner: You may wish to express your sympathy and gratitude for their loved one’s gift or relate your personal story, including:
Since correspondence is anonymous and kept confidential, please do not reveal any identifying information, such as last names, street addresses or cities, email addresses, phone numbers, hospital or physician names or photos. The religious beliefs of your donor family are unknown, so please consider this before including religious comments
If you would like to exchange identifying information with a family, you may request this in your letter to the family. If the request is mutual, it can often be honored.
Please also remember that there is no time frame for corresponding. You can do it any time you are ready. If you are not comfortable writing a letter or note, a card is also an option.
Send your correspondence to the transplant coordinator at your hospital. He or she will forward it to Lifebanc.
If your correspondence has an accompanying envelope, please leave it unsealed so the correspondence can be reviewed for confidentiality. You will need to include a separate sheet of paper with your name, organ transplanted, and date of transplant.
Once your correspondence is reviewed for confidentiality, the donor family is notified. If the family chooses to accept the correspondence and responds, the above process is reversed. If a family does not respond, it does not indicate a lack of appreciation.
Recipients and donor families are asked to be respectful of each others’ privacy. Please know that seeking out and contacting individuals using the internet or other means may not be a welcome form of contact.
To talk with someone directly or for confirmation on a family accepting your correspondence, please contact the Bereavement Coordinator at Lifebanc or call (888) 558-5433 or (216) 752-5433.