Writing to Donor Families

If you would like to write to your donor family, you may send a card, letters, and even a photo. The following guidelines may assist you in deciding what type of information to include.

Thank you for taking the time to write to your donor family. This correspondence is often requested by donor families and can be source of comfort. There is no set time that recipients must wait before writing to their donor family. All correspondence will be kept on file until the donor family consents to its release.

Suggestions for writing to your donor family:

  • Use only first names for yourself and others you mention.
  • Include your age, job or occupation, hobbies or interests.
  • Include your family situation: marital status, children or grandchildren.
  • Be sensitive regarding religious comments and views.
  • Talk about your transplant experience.
  • Use simple language.
  • Recognize your donor family and thank them for their gift.
  • Describe how long you waited for a transplant and what the wait was like for you and your family.
  • Explain how the transplant has improved your health and changed your life.
  • Talk about the activities that you can now participate in that you couldn’t participate in before the transplant.
  • Explain what has happened in your life since your transplant (e.g. celebrated another birthday or anniversary, got married, became a parent, returned to work or school, etc.)

Closing your letter:

  • Sign your first name only.
  • Do not include your address, city, or telephone number.
  • Do not reveal the name or location of the hospital or doctor involved with the transplant.

Mailing your letter:

  • Place your letter in an unsealed envelope.
  • You do not need to place a stamp on your unsealed envelope. We will cover all costs of mailing your correspondence to your donor family.
  • Include a separate piece of paper with your full name, date of transplant, and transplant hospital, which CDS will use to match up the appropriate donor family.
  • Place these items in another envelope and mail them to: Carolina Donor Services, Attn: Life Anew Program Coordinator, 3621 Lyckan Parkway, Durham, NC 27707

Upon receiving your letter, CDS will review the letter to ensure privacy and then forward it to your donor family, if the family is willing to accept correspondence.
You may or may not hear back from the family. While some donor families have said writing helps in their grieving process, other families - even though they are comfortable with their decision to donate – prefer privacy and choose not to communicate with the transplant recipients.

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