The decision to write to the donor's family is a very personal one. It is your choice whether or not you decide to write. Some transplant recipients choose to send a card or note to express their gratitude. Donor families say that letters from recipients are valued and appreciated.
All correspondence is anonymous. If you would like to write a letter or send a greeting card, here are some guidelines:.
Closing your card or letter
- Talk about yourself Use your first name only, or simply "I am a recipient".
- Mention your job or occupation.
- Tell them your general family situation - marital status, children or grandchildren (but do not include names).
- Do not include the name of the town or city where you live.
- Use care in expressing any religious sentiments as the religious beliefs of the donor family are unknown.
- Talk about your transplant experience.
- Use simple language.
- Recognize the donor family and thank them for their gift.
- Describe how long you waited for a transplant. What was the wait like for you and your family?
- Explain how the transplant has improved your health and changed your life. Can you take part in activities now that you could not while waiting for your transplant?
- Tell them what has happened in your life since your transplant- did you return to work, to school, become a parent or grandparent?
Mailing your card or letter
- Sign your first name or "recipient".
- Do not include your address or phone number.
- Do not reveal the name or location of the transplant hospital or physician.
Send it to your transplant coordinator (listed below). The note will be
reviewed to ensure anonymity before it is mailed to the donor family.
Will you hear from the donor family?
- Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope.
- Include a separate piece of paper with your full name and date of transplant.
- Place both items in another envelope, seal it, and mail it to your coordinator or
You may or may not hear from the family. Some families have said that writing about
their loved one and their decision to donate helps them with their grieving. Other
donor families, even though they are comfortable with their decision to donate,
prefer privacy and choose not to write to the transplant recipients.
Remember, the family may still be dealing with the loss of their loved one. While
you may be celebrating the anniversary of receiving your transplant, it is also
the anniversary of someone's loss. Please communicate in a sensitive manner.
If you need further information about writing to the donor family, or have completed
your letter, please contact your transplant coordinator:
Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island
Multi-Organ Transplant Program
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre
1278 Tower Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Tel: (902) 473-5500
Newfoundland & Labrador
Organ Procurement and Exchange
Room 2433, Level #2
Health Sciences Centre
St. John's, Newfoundland
Tel: (709) 737-6600
New Brunswick Organ And Tissue Program
135 MacBeath Ave.
Moncton, New Brunswick
Tel: (506) 643-6848