At Midwest Transplant Network, we support written correspondence between transplant recipients and the family members of organ donors. Many transplant recipients choose to write to donor families to express their gratitude. In response, many donor families say a letter of thanks from a recipient offers a great deal of comfort in their journey of grief and healing. As a recipient or loved one of a recipient, the decision to write to your donor family is very personal and completely your choice.
If you wish to write a letter to the family of your organ donor, here are some suggestions on what to include in your communication, as well as important information about the mailing process:
- Your first name only
- The region in which you live (Midwest, South, etc.)
- Your job or occupation
- Your hobbies or interests
- Your family situation, such as marital status, children or grandchildren (if you provide names, provide first names only)
* The religion of the donor and his or her family will remain unknown, so please consider this if you are planning to include religious comments.
- Use simple language
- Recognize your donor and his/her family, and express your gratitude
- Tell how long you waited for your transplant
- Explain how the gift you were given improved your health and changed your life
- Describe what has happened in your life since your transplant
- Sign your first name only
- Do not reveal your address, city, phone number or email address
- Do not reveal the name of your transplant hospital or physician
- Place it in an unsealed envelope
- Include in the envelope on a separate piece of paper:
- Your full name
- Date of your transplant
Place these items inside another envelope and give it to your transplant coordinator or mail to:
Midwest Transplant Network, Inc.
Donor Family Services
1900 W. 47th Place, Suite 400
Westwood, KS 66205
Please allow a few weeks for your letter to reach the donor family. Our Donor Family Services Coordinator will review your card or letter to ensure confidentiality, and then forward it to your donor’s family to maintain donor/recipient anonymity. Please contact your transplant coordinator for details on how your transplant center facilitates such requests.
You may or may not receive a response from your donor family. While most find it healing to hear a recipient’s story, some families prefer privacy and choose not to communicate with the recipient of their loved one’s donation. Others just need time until they decide to respond.
If you wish to communicate directly with your donor’s family, Midwest Transplant Network can help facilitate your request if the following conditions have been met:
- Each party has written to the other at least one time anonymously
- Both parties have expressed a desire to have non-anonymous communication
- Both parties have signed and notarized the designated release form and returned it to Midwest Transplant Network
For more information about communication with family members of organ and tissue donors or to request a release form, please contact us.