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Writing to Recipients

Writing to your loved one’s recipients:

Many donor families want to reach out to their loved one’s recipient or recipients. Some want to meet them in person and share bits of information about the donor. For many, learning that their loved one’s organs, eyes or tissue changed or saved a life is extremely validating and can help with grief and provide a sense of hope. We highly encourage contact between donor families and their recipients, who might want to say thank you but are reluctant to reach out on their own. This can be done at any time after the transplant has taken place.

Because of patient confidentiality laws, the first step in the process involves writing a note or letter that Gift of Life will deliver on your behalf. If the recipient wishes to have future contact, he or she will respond through Gift of Life.

To meet your recipients, we ask that you’ve first established some contact through correspondence, then both of you must complete an authorization form. 

Guidelines for initiating contact:

If you aren’t sure what to say, send a simple “thinking of you” card, ask them how they’re doing and wait for a response.

Share the story of your loved one and feel free to give general information about occupations, interests, etc. Don’t include any identifying information, such as your last name, city, employer or name of the hospital where your family member donated.

On a separate piece of paper, list your full name, your loved one’s name, address and phone number. This will enable Gift of Life staff to pass your correspondence on to your family member’s recipients.

Mail your correspondence to:
Gift of Life Michigan
3861 Research Park Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Key laws 

Uniform Anatomical Gift Law/Act
Determination of Death Act