Writing To Your Recipient
As a donor family member, you may wish to communicate with the recipients of your loved one's organs and/or tissues.
The decision to write to recipients is a very personal one. You might not be ready to write to the recipients at this time. It may be months or even years until you feel able to write. There is no time limit for sending a letter.
Gift of Life will facilitate the delivery of all letters and correspondence between donor families and transplant recipients. If you would like to write to the recipients of your loved one's donations, consider sending a handwritten or typed letter, or a greeting card. Or you can complete the form at the bottom of this page to send a letter electronically. All correspondence is reviewed by our Family Support Services Department.
Some tips for the Letter-Writing Process:
- Donor family members often choose to write to recipients to tell a little about their loved one, their family, occupation, hobbies and more. We know that recipients welcome and appreciate this.
- Only write information you're comfortable with sharing. Details about medical information or cause of death should be avoided.
- To ensure confidentiality, only use your first name, as well as the first name of your loved one and other family members. Do not reveal any details about your home or contact information.
When closing your card or letter, please sign your first name only – do not reveal your address, city or phone number. Please be aware that due to our confidentiality policy, identifying information including last names or contact information cannot be shared. If such information is included in your letter, it will be edited prior to forwarding to the recipients. Should Gift of Life have questions about the content of your letter, we will contact you.
When mailing the card or letter, place it in an unsealed envelope, with a separate piece of paper that has your full name, your loved one's full name and the date of the donation. There is no need to include postage. Mail it to:
Gift of Life Donor Program
Attn: Family Support Services
401 N. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Please allow extra time for your card or letter to reach the transplant recipients. Gift of Life, upon receiving your letter or card, will review it to ensure confidentiality and then forward it to the hospital where the recipient received his or her organ transplant. The hospital then forwards it to the individual recipient.
When your loved one has donated tissue, the letter writing process is significantly different than organ transplant communications. Gift of Life works with our tissue and eye bank partners to pass on letters from donor families. Typically, the tissue banks are unable to contact every single recipient of your loved one's donated tissue, but they work hard to make sure as many recipients as possible will receive your letter whenever possible.
You should also know that you may not hear from the recipient, finding it difficult to respond given the gravity of the situation.
But we do know that recipients appreciate hearing from donor families. We appreciate how difficult it may have been for you to write a letter, and we thank you for your thoughtfulness.
You may also email your letter or message using the form below:
If you have any questions or need assistance with writing to recipients, please contact Family Support Services at 800-366-6771.
Giving Life a Second Chance
Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has helped hundreds of thousands of patients through organ and tissue donation.
Threads of Love Donor Quilt
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.
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.
Joe thought his days of playing soccer were over when he was diagnosed with heart disease and needed a life-saving heart transplant to survive. Now, at 18, he is back on the field and living up to his nickname "The Blur" all thanks to his hero, an organ donor.