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Correspondence

Many donor family members and transplant recipients wish to contact each other. We support and encourage this, and facilitate the sending of anonymous letters. 

 

FOR DONOR FAMILIES: Writing to your loved one’s transplant 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 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 send on your behalf to the recipient's transplant hospital. 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 anonymous 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 last name, city, employer or name of the hospital where your family member donated.
  • On a separate piece of paper list the donor's name, your full 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, Attn: Aftercare Services
3861 Research Park Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

 

FOR RECIPIENTS: Writing to your donor's family

You may want to reach out to your donor’s family members to thank them for your new chance at life and to learn more about your donor. After initial written contact – which can be done at any point after your transplant – you might want to meet them in person. For many donor families, learning that their loved one’s organs, eyes or tissue changed or saved your life is extremely validating and can help with their grief.

Because of patient confidentiality laws, the first step in the process involves writing a note or letter that Gift of Life will send to your donor's family on your behalf. If your donor’s family wishes to have future contact, they will respond to you through Gift of Life.

To meet them, we ask that you’ve first established some contact through anonymous correspondence, and then everyone 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, or say you’re sorry for their loss and wait for a response.
  • Tell them how you’re doing since you had your transplant, tell them which organ you received and let them know how much you appreciate their gift.
  • Give general information about your family, occupation, interests, etc. Don’t include any identifying information, such as your last name, city, employer or name of the hospital where you received your transplant.
  • On a separate piece of paper, list your full name, address, transplant center, date of transplant and organ transplanted. This will enable Gift of Life staff to pass your correspondence on to your donor family.

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