Connecting Donor Families and Recipients

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Deciding to start communication between a donor family and a recipient is a very personal journey for everyone involved.  It often starts as a way to share information about oneself or their loved one, and often times helps in the grief process.

When sending the first piece of communication, it is advised you do not share any personal information and keep correspondence anonymous.  This makes it easier for the recipient to accept the card/letter, especially if they are still unsure whether they want to make direct contact with their donor’s family.

Be sure to sign your first name only.  Do not reveal personal information like your address, phone number, e-mail address or social media contact information.  It is also best to avoid identifying information like the hospital where your loved one died.

General Information to Share

  • · YOUR LOVED ONE’S NAME (FIRST NAME ONLY)
  • · YOUR LOVED ONE’S HOBBIES OR INTERESTS
  • · FAVORITE STORY OR MEMORY OF YOUR LOVED ONE
  • · PHOTOS OF YOUR FAMILY AND/OR LOVED ONE
 

Closing Your Letter

  • · SIGN YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY
  • · YOUR LOVED ONE’S HOBBIES OR INTERESTS
 

Mailing Your Letter

Your letter should be sent to WRTC’s Donor Family Advocates to help facilitate the anonymity until both parties agree to correspond directly.
Place your card or letter in an unsealed, unstamped envelope.  On a separate paper, include the following:

  • · YOUR FULL NAME
  • · YOUR LOVED ONE’S FULL NAME
  • · YOUR LOVED ONE’S DATE OF DEATH
  • · YOUR ADDRESS, PHONE, AND E-MAIL ADDRESS
 
Mail the correspondence to:
Donor Family Advocates
Washington Regional Transplant Community
3190 Fairview Park Drive, #700
Falls Church, VA 22042 
noun 19821 a41712

WRITING TO ORGAN RECIPIENTS

If your loved one was an organ donor, it is not necessary to wait until you receive communication from the recipient before you write. There is also no time restriction; write when you feel comfortable. Receiving a letter from a donor family may encourage a recipient to write. It often gives the recipient confirmation the donor family is ready and willing to receive correspondence.

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WRITING TO TISSUE RECIPIENTS​

Unlike organ donation, WRTC does not have specific information regarding tissue recipients. The recipient would need to initiate contact, thus giving your family an opportunity to respond. This process also takes longer, as some tissue is not transplanted for several years.

If you receive communication from a tissue recipient who has provided their name and address, you may respond directly to the letter. Please follow the same guidelines detailed previously.

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SOCIAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENCE​​

Please do not use social media to contact whom you believe to be the recipient of your loved one's organs. This leads to difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, experiences for both the donor family and transplant recipient. Should you be the recipient of such contact, please do not respond until you contact WRTC's Donor Family Advocates for assistance. If you receive correspondence from a recipient/donor family, please be considerate of the author, and not share this personal piece of communication on social media unless both parties have agreed upon the release of information.