A Guide to
Writing To Your Donor Family

Making the decision to write to your donor family
Sometimes, transplant recipients choose to write to their donor family to express
their gratitude. In response, many donor families have said that correspondence with
recipients offers them comfort and consolation. The decision to write your
donor family is a personal choice, but in writing, you can often help families cope
with the loss of their loved one.

We would like to provide transplant recipients with information that will help in composing letters of thanks. UK Transplant and Transplant Co-ordinators require the identity of both the donor and the recipient be kept confidential. For this reason, we ask that you do not include any identifying personal information in your letter, such as your name or where you live.

If you decide to initiate correspondence with your donor family, you may send a greeting card or letter. Included below are some guidelines and general information that may help you with your letter writing:

Provide general information

• Your gender and lifestage (ie: child, teen, middle aged etc.)

• Hobbies or interests

• Your family situation, such as marital status, children, grandchildren (Please do NOT include names)

• Since the religion of the donor family is unknown, please consider this if you are including religious comments

• Do NOT include the name of the Village, Town or City in which you live

Closing your card or letter

• Sign your card or letter “a grateful recipient” only

• Do NOT reveal your address, Village, Town or City or telephone number

• Do NOT reveal the name of the hospital in which you received your transplant

Mailing your card or letter

Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. Include on a separate piece of

• Your full name and date of transplant

Please send both documents in a sealed envelope to :

Your Transplant Co-ordinator, to the hospital where you had your transplant.

Sample Letter

Dear Donor Family,

” Thank You” these two words seem so
inadequate for the gift of life you have
given to me.

You have given me a second chance to
live and many tomorrows. I will be able to
see the sun rise and set, feel the rain and
sun on my face, hear the wind in the trees,
and listen to the birds sing. I will be able
to hug and be hugged.

I must offer my deepest sympathy for
your loss, mere words from a stranger, but
heartfelt just the same. Perhaps, in your
generous donation your family and mine
will be able to “Celebrate the Life” of loved
ones both past and present.

I know nothing about the donor only
that they must have been kind, caring,
compassionate, and generous, something
they had to have learned from you, their

I feel that each new day has endless
possibilities, and that my horizons are
without bounds. I only hope that I am able
to justify the use of this wonderful gift.

I could make you promises of what I
would do to make our world a better place,
but we all know that promises tend to be
broken and time can cause us to forget,
but know this, not a day, not an hour, or a
minute will go by without my thinking of
the donor and their family who without I
would not have had a chance to live.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The recipient

Will I hear from the donor family?
You may or may not receive a response from your donor family. Some families may
respond to your letter immediately, while others may prefer privacy and choose not
to write to the recipients. Remember the donor family may still be coping with the
loss of their loved one, and people manage grief in different ways. While you may be celebrating the anniversary of receiving your transplant, it is also the anniversary of someone else’s loss.

Please communicate in a sensitive manner.

With this said, many donor families have said that correspondence with recipients offers them comfort, consolation, and often closure. Despite their loss, many families look forward to a letter or note from the recipients.

Hope this advice helps?
But if you still need some help or more advice please do email me

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