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Tips

How It Works

When we receive your letter, we will mail it to the transplant coordinator at the recipient’s transplant center. We will also send you a confirmation that we have received it.

The transplant coordinator will review your card or letter and may contact the recipient before forwarding your letter. Any return correspondences from the recipients are passed on first to the transplant centers.

The transplant center then sends them on to us at DNA for us to forward to you. It may take several weeks for your letter to arrive to the recipient so please allow extra time for this process.

May I Write Directly to Recipients?

Donor families and recipients may exchange personal information and write directly to one another only when all parties agree to do so. We encourage you to share several letters before disclosing personal information. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may communicate through DNA as long as you wish.

I Don’t Know What to Say

Here is a sample of the kind of note you may want to send initially.

Dear Recipient,

We hope this note finds you feeling well. It helped us to know that our loved one could make a true difference in someone else’s life. Please know that we would be most open to receiving a note from you telling us how you’re doing and a little about yourself. If you have any desire to write us, please don’t feel awkward about doing so.

We thought you might also want to know a little about your donor. Let us share with you some things that are most memorable to us…

You remain in our thoughts as we truly wish you health and happiness.

Sincerely,
Your Donor Family

Will the Recipients Write Back?

In our experience, many recipients upon receiving a note from a donor family do respond. They are glad to know that writing to you will be something you truly desire. Please be aware, however, that there is also the possibility that you may not receive a reply. It can be as difficult for transplant recipients to write to their donor families as it is for many donor families to write to the recipients.

Recipients may still be recovering from the transplant operation. Others may fear that writing will intrude in a family’s grief or they may have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. It may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor family. If you say in your letter that you are open to hearing from them, this may help them feel more comfortable about communicating with you.

Some recipients may choose not to write at all. This does not mean they are not thankful. Recipients who do not write have expressed to us at DNA that they live each day with deep gratitude for the generosity of their donor family.

If you have questions or need further information about writing to recipients, please contact:
Donor Family and Advocate Services
1-800-943-6667, ext. 2273

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