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Writing to Your Donor's Family

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 deliver 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 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
3861 Research Park Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108