The decision to write to the recipients of your loved one’s donated organs or tissues is a personal one. Sometimes, donor families choose to write to recipients to share information about themselves and their loved one. This sharing with recipients helps some families in their grieving process. Whether or not you decide to write to your loved one’s recipients – the choice is yours. All correspondence is anonymous, and identities are kept confidential.
Writing to Organ Recipients
If you would like to write to the transplant recipients, you may send a greeting card or a letter. When writing to the recipients, you may choose to include your loved one’s name. Please use his/her first name only. You may wish to describe his/her job, occupation, hobbies or interests. Information about your family such as marital status, children, and grandchildren may also be included. Since the religion of the transplant recipient is unknown, please consider this if you are including religious comments. When closing your card or letter, you may sign your first name. Please do not reveal your address, city, telephone number, email address or social media information.
Writing to Tissue Recipients
Unlike organ donation, there is not a mandatory requirement for tissue transplant surgeons to share information about their transplant patients and some 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 Department at 1-781-373-7945, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.
Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. Include in the envelope on a separate piece of paper your full name, your loved one’s full name, and the date of the donation. Mail your correspondence to the following address:
New England Organ Bank
60 First Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451-1106
An Aftercare Coordinator will review your card or letter to ensure confidentiality and will forward it to the clinical transplant coordinator at the recipient’s transplant center. The transplant center will forward it to the recipient. For this reason, please allow extra time for your letter to reach the transplant recipients. It may take a few weeks after you have mailed it for the transplant recipient to receive it. For tissue donation, if the tissue bank involved has a correspondence program, your letter will be forwarded to the tissue bank that prepared the gift of tissue.
You may or may not receive a response from the recipients of your loved one’s donation. Many transplant recipients have said that they are overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. Others may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor families.
If you have questions or need further information about writing to recipients and their families, please contact Aftercare at New England Organ Bank at (781) 373-7945, or email us at email@example.com.