Giving Life a Second Chance
Through Organ & Tissue Donation

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Family Support Services

Each year, the lives of thousands of men, women and children in our region are saved or improved through the generous gifts of organ and tissue donors.

Family Support Services of Gift of Life Donor Program serves the families and friends of donors by offering the following assistance to help deal with a loss:

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  • Speak to one of our counselors over the phone.
  • Attend a one-on-one session in our Philadelphia office.
  • Referrals to local support groups and counselors.

Your feedback gives us the information to provide the services you want and need. Please let us know what programs and workshops you would find most helpful by contacting us at 1-800-DONORS-1.

Utilize our Information and Referral Service by contacting Family Support Services at 1-800-DONORS-1 for other community services dealing with bereavement and grief counseling.

Additional Resources for Donor Families

Support for Donor Families

  • The Pennsylvania Statewide Grief Counseling Program is an exciting new partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (the organ procurement organization for western Pennsylvania). Available to Pennsylvania residents, families of deceased organ and tissue donors in Pennsylvania may be eligible for up to eight sessions of grief counseling at no cost to the family. Currently 11 counselors covering 9 counties are enrolled in this pilot program. This pilot program is funded through the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund. To find out more information on how to take part of this Pennsylvania Department of Health run program, click here.
  • National Donor Family Council is the National Kidney Foundation's website designed for families of organ and tissue donors. Includes on line copies of its quarterly newsletter "For Those Who Give and Grieve."
  • Healing the Spirit is LifeNet Health's new extensive bereavement support website aimed to promote healing and peace for organ and tissue donor families.
  • The David Nelson Jr Memorial Fund provides educational scholarships for children of organ and tissue donors.

Bereaved Parents

  • The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help support organization that offers friendship and understanding to families who are grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause. Local chapters throughout the U.S. and internationally. Main office: P. O. Box 3696, Oak Brook, IL 60522-3696, 877-969-0010.
  • Alive Alone is an organization for the education and charitable purposes to benefit bereaved parents, whose only child or all children are deceased, by providing a self- help network and publications to promote communication and healing, to assist in resolving their grief, and a means to reinvest their lives for a positive future. Main office: 11115 Dull Robinson Road, Van Wert, OH 45891
  • Bereaved Parents of the USA is a national non-profit self-help group that offers support, understanding, compassion and hope especially to the newly bereaved be they bereaved parents grandparents or siblings struggling to rebuild their lives after the death of their children, grandchildren or siblings. Local chapters throughout the US. Separate meetings for sibling support. Main office: 5 Vanek Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12603-5403

Infant Death or Miscarriage

  • American SIDS Institute is dedicated to the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the promotion of infant health through research, clinical services, family support and professional and community education. 2480 Windy Hill Road, Suite 380, Marietta, GA 30067, 770-612-1030
  • First Candle is a national, non-profit, voluntary health organization dedicated to the support of SIDS families, education and research. 1314 Bedford Avenue, Suite 210, Baltimore, Maryland 21208, 800-221-SIDS (7437).
  • Unite Inc. offers national support for parents grieving miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. Unite provides local group meetings, education and outreach, group development help, group facilitator training programs, quarterly newsletter, annual conference, phone help and professionals in advisory/coordinator roles. c/o Jeanes Hospital, 7600 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, 215-728-2082.

Sibling Support

  • Twinless Twins Support Group, International was founded to support twins (all multiple births) who suffer from the loss of companionship of their twin through death, estrangement, or in-utero loss. Annual conference, professional referrals, family member support and more. PO Box 980481, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-0481, 888-205-8962.
  • The Compassionate Friends has sibling resources as well as local chapters throughout the U.S. and internationally. P. O. Box 3696, Oak Brook, IL 60522-3696, 877-969-0010.
  • Adult Sibling Grief is a support community for those who have suffered the devastating loss of an adult sibling. The chat and message boards help enable surviving siblings to exchange information as well as offer support.

Helping Children Grieve

  • Rainbows is a not-for-profit, international organization that offers training and curricula for establishing peer support groups in churches, synagogues, schools or social agencies. These curricula are available for children and adults of all ages and religious denominations who are grieving a death, divorce or any other painful transition in their family. 2100 Golf Road #370, Rolling Meadows, IL, 60008-4231, 800-266-3206.
  • Peter's Place provides a safe and supportive environment for grieving children and families. Located in Radnor, PA, Peter's Place acts as a community resource to foster an understanding of the effects of death and grief.
  • Olivia's House is an organization of caregiving professionals and volunteers committed to supporting grieving children. Located in York, PA, its purpose is to facilitate healing through grief and loss education.
  • Highmark Caring Place provides peer support to children and families who are grieving the death of a loved one. Harrisburg-area location.
  • Kidsaid is a safe place on the web for kids to share and to help each other deal with grief about any loss. Share feelings, show artwork and stories, meet with peers. Professionally directed to ensure safe content for children.
  • The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, and their families who are grieving a death can share their experiences as they move through their healing processes. Through a National Center for Grieving Children and Families, the Dougy Center also provides support and training locally, nationally and internationally to individuals and organizations seeking to assist children and teens in grief. PO Box 86852, 3909 SE 52nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97286, 503-775-5683

Bereaved Spouses

  • AARP Grief and Loss Program is an outreach program in which trained widowed volunteers offer support to newly widowed persons of all ages. Services include one-to-one outreach, educational meetings, support groups, guest speakers, online discussion groups, publications and training materials, referrals to community resources and social activities. 601 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20049, 800-424-3410
  • WidowNet is an online information and self-help resource for and by widows and widowers. Topics covered include grief, bereavement, recovery and other information helpful to people of all ages who have suffered the death of a spouse or life partner.
  • Parents Without Partners provides help to single parents following death, divorce, separation or never-married through discussions, professional speakers, study groups, publications, youth scholarships and social activities for families and adults. 1650 South Dixie Highway, Suite 510, Boca Raton, FL 33432, 561-391-8833
  • THEOS (They Help Each Other Spiritually) is an international organization dedicated to helping newly widowed persons to move successfully through the stages of grief and rebuild their lives through self-development and support groups. Conferences, seminars, classes, literature, and newsletter. 322 Boulevard of the Allies, Suite 105, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1919, 412-471-7779.
  • Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) provides resources to assist in rebuilding the lives of surviving families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as determined by Federal criteria. COPS also provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors. PO Box 3199 - S. Highway 5, Camdenton, MO 65020, 573-346-4911

Violent Death

  • Parents Of Murdered Children (POMC) is a national helping organization which is specifically for the survivors (friends and family) of homicide victims. Peer counseling, individual assistance, support and advocacy. Also helps interested parents or immediate family members form local chapters. 100 East Eighth Street, Suite B-41, Cincinnati, OH 45202, 888-818-POMC
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a non-profit grass roots organization with more than 600 chapters nationwide that looks for effective solutions to the drunk driving and underage drinking problems while supporting those who have already experienced the pain of these senseless crimes. Local chapters, newsletter, victim support, legal and financial information, memorial tributes. P.O. Box 541688, Dallas, TX 75354-1688, 800-GET-MADD (438-6233)
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is committed to organize for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives. Public education, direct victim assistance, referrals, policy development, local chapters, newsletter and journal. PO Box 18749, Denver, CO 80218, 800-799-7233,

Crime Victims

  • Victims of Crime Resource Center provides information and referral to victims, their families, victim service providers and other interested parties. Center staff research legal issues related to victims, monitor legislation, publish a newsletter, and participate in outreach activities. McGeorge School of Law, 3200 Fifth Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817, 800-VICTIMS
  • National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) promotes rights and services for victims of crime and crisis everywhere through national advocacy, crisis intervention, training and technical assistance. Newsletters, information updates, conferences. 1730 Park Road NW, Washington DC 20010, 202-232-6682, 800-try-nova (victim referrals)


  • The American Association of Suicidology is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding and prevention of suicide. Promotes research, public awareness programs, education and training for professionals and volunteers. Serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide for AAS members, suicide researchers, therapists, prevention specialists, survivors of suicide, and people who are in crisis. 4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 408, Washington, DC 20008, 202-237-2280, 800-SUICIDE (crisis hotline)
  • Survivors of Suicide offers support groups for people whose loved one completed suicide. It also has resources and short articles offering support.

Substance Abuse/Addiction

  • GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) was founded to help provide sources of help, compassion and most of all, understanding, for families or individuals who have had a loved one die as a result of substance abuse or addiction.

General Grief Support

  • The Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) is a multi-disciplinary professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in death education, bereavement counseling, and care of the dying. Provides information, support, and resources to its multicultural membership and the public. 342 North Main Street,West Hartford, CT 06117-2507, 860-586-7503
  • The Grief Resources Catalog is a resource center dedicated to providing grief support products for those who may be grieving the death of a loved one. Materials designed to assist those in a journey through grief and for friends, relatives and grief professionals who want to help someone who is experiencing grief. 5021 Vernon Avenue #209, Edina, MN 55436, 952-922-3469.
  • The Center for Loss and Life Transition is a private organization dedicated to furthering our understanding of -and compassion for- the complex set of emotions we call grief. Provides help for the bereaved and caregivers. Comprehensive publications and resource products. 3735 Broken Bow Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526, 970-226-6050.
  • The Centering Corporation is a family owned and operated business that is dedicated to serving the needs of those healing from loss through grief literature and other resources. 7230 Maple Sreet, Omaha, NE 68134, 402-553-1200
  • Compassion Books has over 400 resources to help children and adults through serious illness, death, loss, grief and bereavement. Reviewed and selected by knowledgeable professionals. 7036 State Highway 80 South, Burnsville, NC 28714, 800-970-4220
  • National Public Radio: The End of Life - Exploring Death in America broadcasts regular programs in this series. Download transcripts of the original broadcasts as well as resources, a bibliography, and readings. There is also a place to tell your own story and give feedback to the programmers.
  • Beyond Indigo is an online community for families and professionals that contains links such as message boards, chats, grief support, after loss, emotional planners, articles, relaxation techniques and more.
  • Hospice Foundation of America provides leadership in the development and application of hospice and its philosophy of care with the goal of enhancing the American health care system and the role of hospice within it.
  • Vitas Hospice Services has an extensive list of articles related to grief and bereavement on its website. Visit HERE for Vitas Resources or visit


For Children of all ages

The Fall of Freddie The Leaf by Leo Buscalia

Picture books for younger children

The Two of Them by Aliki
I Had a Friend Named Peter by Janice Cohn
Saying Goodbye to Grandma by Thomas Resh
Geranium Morning by Sandy E. Powell
Saying Goodbye to Daddy by Judith Vigna

For parents and children

Teenagers Face to Face with Bereavement by Karen Gravelle and Charles Haskins
Talking about Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child by Earl Grollman

Parental death

When My Mommy Died: A Child's View on Death by Janice M. Hammond
When My Daddy Died: A Child's View on Death by Janice M. Hammond
How it Feels When a Parent Dies by Jill Kremenz

Sibling Grief

Recovering From the Loss of A Sibling by Katherine Fair Donnelly
Am I Still A Sister? by Alice M. Sims

Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies by T.J. Wray

Bereaved Parents

Before and After My Child Died by J. Fischoff and N. O'Brien-Broh
A Broken Heart Still Beats by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel
Healing A Father's Grief by William Schatz
The Bereaved Parent by Harriet H. Schiff

General Bereavement

What Helped Me When My Loved One Died by Earl Grollman
Parting is Not Goodbye by Kelly Osmond
Living Through Mourning: Finding Comfort and Hope by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
The Courage to Grieve: Creative Living, Recovery & Growth Through Grief by Judy Tatlebaum


My Son, My Son by Iris Bolton and Curtis Mitchell
Suicide of a Child by A. Wrobleski


No Time for Goodbyes by Janice Harris Lord


Widow by Dr. Joyce Brothers
Widow by Lyn Caine
Being A Widow by Lyn Caine
Widower: When Men Are Left Alone by Campbell and Silverman

Threads of Love Donor Quilt

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Explore the online quilts to view the quilt squares provided by the loved ones of those who died and gave the gift of life. The actual quilts are available for display in public places throughout the region to promote donor awareness.


Giving Life a Second Chance

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Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has helped hundreds of thousands of patients through organ and tissue donation.

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Share Your Story

Inspire. Advocate. Share your story...

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Gift of Life works tirelessly to rewrite the stories for the more than 5,600 people in our region waiting for their second chance at life. The gift of organ and tissue donation truly can change someone's life and rewrite their story. How has the Gift of Life rewritten your story? Share with us.


Join Team Philadelphia:

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