Mollie Murphy, Heart Recipient

Saying Thank You

Like many transplant recipients, the time may come when you want to write a letter to your donor’s family. You may want to express your gratitude for their loved one’s gift or let them know how you’re doing. A note or letter can bring great comfort and healing to those going through the grieving process.

If you are a transplant recipient and would like to correspond with your donor’s family, please contact your transplant center who can provide guidelines and an address for sending your correspondence. Transplant recipients may choose to write to the family of their donor to express their gratitude for their gift of life. Many donor families appreciate a personal note from their loved one’s recipient as it provides them with comfort and healing.

By writing a letter, you’re letting the donor family know that their loved one’s gift has made a difference. Please do not be disappointed if you do not receive a letter in return. All families grieve differently and they may not be ready to respond.

It may be difficult to find the right words to express the gratitude you have to your donor family.

Tips for Writing the First Note or Letter:

  • Acknowledge your donor family’s loss with expressions of sympathy.
  • Express your gratitude for your donor’s gift.
  • Tell the donor family about yourself, your family and your hobbies/interests.
  • Share how this gift has impacted your life.

Remember, the length of the letter does not matter. Speak from your heart, as just a few sentences can make a difference to a family that has experienced the loss of a loved one.

Sending Your Note or Letter

To protect the confidentiality of both the donor and recipient, all correspondence is initially facilitated through your transplant center and Sierra Donor Services. You may include first names, but please do not include last names, emails, addresses or phone numbers in your note.

Once your note is written, attach a separate cover sheet with:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Date of transplant
  • Telephone number
  • Email address

Send your letter to the address provided by your transplant center.

After the initial contact, you and your donor family may decide to contact each other directly or schedule a time to meet. Before releasing personal information, Sierra Donor Services requires both the donor family and recipient to sign release forms.

For more information email sds.info@dcids.org or call 916-567-1600.

Inspiring Stories

Many people benefit from the insights of others who have traveled this path before. Here are some inspiring stories to give you hope.