Donor Families

 

Supporting Donor Families

Sierra Donor Services offers support for families of those who have said “yes” to giving the precious gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

For those who are learning to live with their loss during the initial months and in the year following their loved one’s death, our staff will supply each family with support, care and guidance through phone calls, correspondence, activities and events that honor the loved ones who said yes to giving the gift of life. We are available to assist families with an assortment of bereavement materials and, direct them to local support groups. Please contact us by email at: sds.info@dcids.org or call 1.916.567.1600.

Donor Family Gathering
For those donors who said “yes” to giving the gift of life, we give thanks to recent donors and their families at the Donor Family Gathering. At this event, we have a Keynote Speaker, a special program and light refreshments. To honor donors, we ask their families to provide us with a photograph of their loved one so that a video presentation can be created and shown during the ceremony. We also request donor families to create a written memory (letter, poem, etc.) to be included in a memory booklet with the photograph which is given to each donor family.

Links

National Donor Family Council – National support group for donor families, links to informative web sites and other useful information related to organ and tissue donation.

  • Assists families following the death of a child of any age. Website offers information, resources and has a chapter locator to help find local support groups.
    http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx
  • Provides a national referral list of child, teen, and family grief support services, promotes awareness of the needs of children and teens grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who wants to support them.
    http://www.nationalallianceforgrievingchildren.org/

 

Web Based Bereavement Resources

  • Hello Grief provides information and resources about grief in order to break through the current culture of avoidance that surrounds death and loss. Read articles, meet others dealing with grief, and find resources.
    http://www.hellogrief.org/
  • Grief Haven offers support for parents and others who have lost a child. Online chat forum available.
    http://www.griefhaven.org/

 

Writing to Transplant Recipients

The decision to write to the recipients of your loved one’s organs is very personal. Often times, donor families write to recipients to share information about themselves and their loved one. Many feel that writing such a letter helps them work through the grief. Sierra Donor Services supports written correspondence between donor families and recipients. All correspondence is anonymous, unless both the donor family and the recipient wish to disclose their identities. If you would like to write to transplant recipients, consider sending a handwritten or typed letter, or greeting card. The following are some general guidelines for writing to recipients:

  • Please include first name only;
  • Share information about your loved one such as their occupation, hobbies, or interests;
  • Share information about your family;
  • Since the religion of the recipient is unknown, please consider this when including religious comments;
  • When closing your letter or card, you may sign your name if you choose;
  • Place your letter or card in an unsealed envelope;
  • Include, on a separate piece of paper, your full name, your loved one’s name, and the date of the donation; and enclose the items in another envelope addressed to Sierra Donor Services, 1760 Creekside Oaks Drive, Suite 220, Sacramento, California, 95833.

The Donor Family Liaison at Sierra Donor Services will review your letter or card, and will then forward it to the recipient’s transplant center. The transplant center will then forward your correspondence to the recipient. Since your letter or card must be forwarded to Sierra Donor Services first, please allow extra time for it to reach the recipient.

You may or may not receive a response from the recipients. Some recipients may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to the donor family. Many recipients have said that they are overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. However, all recipients are extremely thankful for your loved one’s gift.

If you would like more information regarding writing to recipients, please call our office at 916-567-1600.