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Making the decision to write to transplant recipients
Sample Letter
Will I hear from the transplant recipients?
Having difficulties or need some advice?
Writing to Transplant Recipients Brochure (PDF file)
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Guide to Writing a Letter



Making the decision to write to transplant recipients

Some donor families wish to write to the transplant recipients of their loved one's organs and tissues. They would like to share information about themselves and their loved one and feel that it helps them through the grieving process. The decision to write to the transplant recipients is a personal choice.

BC Transplant (BCT) would like to provide donor families with information that will help them in their letter writing. The BC Human Tissue Gift Act requires that the identity of both the donor and the recipient be kept confidential. For this reason, we ask that you do not include identifying personal information, such as your name, where you live, or where you work in your letter. If you decide to initiate correspondence with the transplant recipients, you may send a greeting card or letter. Included below are some guidelines and general information that may help you compose your letter.

Provide general information

• Gender and lifestage ( ie: child, teen, middle aged etc. ) of your loved one.

• Hobbies or interests

• Family situation of your loved one such as marital status, children,   grandchildren (Please do NOT include names)

• Since the religion of the transplant recipient's family is unknown, please   consider this if you are including religious comments

Do NOT include the name of the city in which you live.

Closing your card or letter

• Sign your card or letter "the donor family" only

Do NOT reveal your address, city or telephone number

Do NOT reveal the name of the hospital in which your loved one was a

Mailing your card or letter

Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. Include on a separate piece of

• Your full name, your loved one's full name, date of donation.

Please mail both documents in a sealed envelope to :

BC Transplant
c/o ODHD
West Tower, 3rd Floor
555 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 3X7

You could also e-mail us your letter at donorfamily@bcts.hnet.bc.ca

One of BCT Organ Donation Specialists will review the card or letter to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for both you and the transplant recipients, before sending it on to the recipient. Each letter is forwarded from BCT, therefore, there may be a slight delay before your letter reaches the transplant recipient. We make every effort to get letters out as soon as we receive them.

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Sample Letter

A letter writen by one of our donor moms

Dear Friend,

Your card arrived last week and it was
the most meaningful event since our
loved one's death. How I wish I could
give you both a big hug for writing to us!

It gives us great comfort to think of your
family, and I try to picture you and your
wife and your children, as you celebrate
life together.

Our loved one made the decision to be
an organ donor many years ago, while
still a teenager. He registered his wishes
again last year, when the new registry
began. Little did he know then how soon
his decision would have such a big
impact on other people's lives.

We feel our loved one lives on in you and
in the other recipients. Thank you for
helping us find meaning in our loss.
We hope and pray for your continued
good health.

A Donor Mom

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Will I hear from the transplant recipients?

You may or may not receive a response from the recipients of your loved one's organs and tissues. Many transplant recipients have said that they are overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. Others may take several months, or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor family. Often recipients are afraid their letter will upset the donor family, or delay the healing process. In this case, a letter from the donor family may encourage the recipients to write a letter of thanks, knowing that the donor family is ready to receive communication.

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Having difficulties or need some advice?

If you are having any difficulties in writing your letter, or have any questions about
anything that you wish to include in your letter, please contact a BC Transplant Organ
Donation Specialist at 604-877-2240, toll free at 1-800-663-6189 or e-mail at donorfamily@bcts.hnet.bc.ca. They will be happy to assist you.

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