Changing Lives Through Organ Donation
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Writing to Your Donor Family

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network assists with facilitating written correspondence between recipients and donor families. Correspondence is completely anonymous and identities are kept confidential.

Image for Writing to Your Donor FamilyEach recipient is different and this is a very personal decision. Sometimes a recipient chooses to write to their donor’s family to share information about themselves, their family and what the transplant has meant to them. Donor families often find that sharing information helps with their grieving process. The most important thing is that you do what is best for you.

Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network will assist with facilitating written correspondence between recipients and donor families. All correspondence is completely anonymous and identities are kept confidential. If, after a period of time, both the recipient and donor family decide that they want to be in direct contact, then the confidential information can be shared.

If you would like to write to the family of your donor, you may send a greeting card, note, or a letter.  Outlined below is suggested information you may wish to include:

Provide General Information

  • Your first name only
  • Your job, occupation, interests or hobbies
  • Family composition and/or important relationships (please, no last names)
  • Your organ transplant experience (use simple language and communicate in a sensitive manner)
  • Since the religion of the donor’s family is unknown, please consider this if you are including religious comments.

 Closing Your Correspondence

  • Sign your first name only
  • Do NOT reveal the city or town that you live in, your address, phone number or  e-mail address
  • Do NOT reveal the name or the location of the hospital where you received your transplant

Mailing Your Correspondence

  • Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope
  • On a separate piece of paper include your full name and the date of your transplant
  • Place and send these items in another envelope addressed to your transplant center
  • Send the correspondence to your Transplant Coordinator

Handling Your Correspondence

  • Your Transplant Coordinator will review your correspondence to ensure its confidentiality, removing any identifying information
  • The correspondence will then be forwarded to the appropriate Organ Procurement Organization. The Family Services Coordinator will then send your correspondence to the donor’s family.
  • It may take a few weeks after you have mailed your correspondence for the donor’s family to receive it


Will I hear from the donor family?

You may or may not hear from your  donor’s family. While many families are very interested in receiving correspondence from the recipients, others may be overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty receiving correspondence.

Some donor families may choose not to respond to their loved one’s organ recipients. They may not be able to express their feelings.   Additionally, it is important to remember that some donor families may prefer to remain private. It may take several months or even years before a donor family may feel comfortable writing to their loved one’s organ recipients.

Who do I call for help or information?

Call the Family Services Coordinator at Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network if you need help or more information on how to write to your donor’s family.

  • © Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network, Corporate Woods of Brighton, Building 30, Suite 220, Rochester, NY 14623 (800) 810-5494