Do I have to be a part of the Life Anew aftercare program?
The Life Anew Program is a voluntary program; however, many of our donor families have found the materials to be helpful during their grief journey. You may elect to have more than one member of the family in the program. The Life Anew Program can provide materials for handling grief and mourning, including a journal for those interested, as well as support groups and other counseling services.
What does the Life Anew Program do to honor your loved one’s donation?
Part of the periodic mailings include physical symbols of your loved one’s donation including a medal as well as a butterfly pin, which is the representation of an organ and tissue donor. Each October, CDS holds three regional Donor Family Tribute events to honor those who gave the Gift of Life. Invitations are extended up to one year after the date of donation.
Will I receive letters from the recipients of my loved one’s organs and/or tissue?
You may or may not receive letters from recipients. We do encourage recipients to reach out to their donor families; however, recipients may feel that they may cause the donor family more pain and grief by reaching out through correspondence. Also, recipients often feel guilty as their gift of new life meant the loss of another.
However, some donor families may reach out and initiate correspondence with the recipients. All correspondence will go through CDS to ensure confidentiality is maintained for both parties. This includes the elimination of any personal identifying information including last names, cities, addresses, phone numbers and transplant center names.
Will I meet the recipients of my loved one’s organs and/or tissue?
Donor families and recipients do have the option of communicating directly, which may or may not include meeting in person. We recommend that both parties exchange correspondence through CDS prior to taking measures on communicating directly. If one or both parties desire to initiate direct contact, CDS will send the recipient and donor family letters that outline things to think about prior to signing the consent to release personal information form. Once both signed consent forms are received by CDS, the Life Anew Program Coordinator will release personal information to both parties. CDS is more than happy to help arrange meetings at one of our three offices or at a neutral location. Please know that this entire process is a choice.