Every year in BC, hundreds of people in BC receive the ultimate gift: a second chance at life. A transplant is life-changing in many ways, some of which may be harder to manage.
Throughout your transplant journey, you’ll likely experience many different emotions and have many questions. The good news is you don’t have to go through it alone. Many groups in BC offer support and resources that can help you through this transition.
You may or may not receive a response from your donor family. Some families may respond to your letter immediately, while others may prefer privacy and choose not to write to the recipient. The donor family may still be coping with the loss of their loved one, and people manage grief in different ways.
Sometimes, transplant recipients choose to write to their donor family to express their gratitude. The decision to write your donor family is a personal choice, but your words can often help families cope with the loss of their loved one.
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 any identifying personal information in your letter.
In order to keep identities confidential, here are some guidelines of personal information that can be included in your letter:
- Your gender and life stage (i.e. child, teen, middle-aged etc.)
- Favourite pastimes, hobbies or interests
- Family situation of your loved one such as marital status, children, grandchildren (Note: please do not include names)
- Religious comments: If you would like to include religious comments, please consider the fact that you do not know the religion of your donor family.
- Please do not include the name of the city in which you live
- Please do not include that you would like to meet the donor family someday, as BC Transplant has a process for facilitating this (see 'Meeting recipients/donors' section)
In closing your letter or card, please simply sign your card or letter "a grateful recipient". Please do not include the following:
- Your address, city, telephone number or email address
- The name of the hospital in which you received your transplant
- Names of your loved one or family members
Please place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. Include on a separate piece of paper:
- Your full name
- Mailing address
- Date of transplant
Mail both documents in a sealed envelope to:
West Tower, Suite 350
555 West 12th Avenue
We will review the letter to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for both you and the donor family, before sending it on to the donor family. Each letter is forwarded from our office and, therefore there may be a slight delay before your letter reaches the donor family. We make every effort to get letters out as soon as we receive them.
If you’re having difficulties in writing your letter, or have any questions, please contact BC Transplant at 604-877-2240 or toll free at 1-800-663-6189 and ask to speak with our staff in the donor family support program.