Writing to Your Loved One’s Recipients

Many donor family members find comfort or meaning in writing to the transplant recipient(s) who received their loved one’s gift(s)You may write a note by hand or type it. Please use the guidelines below.

Start your letter 

  • Use the type of transplant in your greeting (Dear Heart Recipient, Dear Cornea Recipient)

Introduce yourself 

  • Your connection to the donor (John’s wife, Jane’s sister) 
  • Your occupation
  • Your family (spouse, children, grandchildren)
  • Your interests and/or hobbies
  • The state where you live 

Write about your loved one 

  • What kind of person they were 
  • Their family (if not already written above)
  • Their job
  • Their interests and/or hobbies
  • Special memories of them 
 **Since the religion and culture of the recipient is unknown, please consider this as you write your letter. 

Share how your loved one’s donation impacted you 

  • Has it helped you heal?
  • Has it given you peace knowing their legacy lives on?

Close your letter 

  • Sign your first name only
  • Do not reveal your last name, address, city, phone number, e-mail address, or the hospital where your loved one died 
**If any identifying information is used, it will be blacked out before the letter is sent to maintain privacy. 

Send your letter 

LifeShare Carolinas
PO Box 32861
Charlotte, NC 28232 

  • LifeShare will mail your letter to the transplant center, who will send it to the recipient. 

Remember that what you say isn’t as important as who the letter is from. 

After you send your letter 

You may or may not hear from your loved one’s recipient(s). Many transplant recipients feel a connection to their donor and are honored to write letters of thanks. However, some transplant recipients do not write to their donor’s family. Even though they are grateful for the gift of life, they may struggle to express their feelings. Just as some donor families prefer to remain private, so do some transplant recipients. It may take several months, or even years, for a recipient to feel comfortable writing. 

After writing letters back and forth, some donor families and recipients make the decision to meet in person. To see some of these emotional gatherings, visit our YouTube channel. 

Writing to Recipients January 23, 2013