Asking Someone to Be a Living Liver Donor: Say It in Writing

Most of the people who are waiting for a liver transplant never ask anyone to donate. These people may think that they don't have enough information about living donation, or they may feel too mentally and physically exhausted. Our tools, and the support of family and friends, will make it easier to communicate the need for a living liver donor.

 

Say It in Writing

 

Writing a letter or email or creating a flier to post or send to people are good ways to reach out to potential donors. Important information to include:

  • The patient's story, explaining the situation
  • Information about living donation
  • Always include the link to our online living donor inquiry form by using the url uwhealth.org/CanIBeADonor. This is the best way for us to quickly help these people. People who do not have access to a computer may call (608) 263-1384 for help completing the form over the phone.

Following is a sample letter that you could adapt for an email or flier. You can download a Word version and edit it for your needs.

 

Sample letter

 

I am writing to share an update on my health, and to ask for your support and help. I have liver disease. (you can put in more information about your health here, as you like.)

 

To survive, I need a liver transplant. A liver transplant can come from someone who has died (a deceased donor) or from a healthy living donor. To receive a deceased donor, I would get added to the transplant wait list. The sickest people get transplanted first, so I would have to wait until I am very ill to get a deceased donor liver transplant. A living donor must be over age 18, and can be a family member, friend, or anyone who is healthy and volunteers to donate. My doctors at UW Health said the best option for me is a liver transplant from a living kidney donor. A transplant from a living donor can last twice as long and the transplant can happen sooner, sometimes in a few months. This would spare me the misery of becoming more and more ill and would help me get back to my normal activities much faster. (You can place the link to your 'caring connection' or 'lotsa helping hands' site here. Or, you can add more information about how you are feeling, and what you are hoping to get back to doing after transplant.)

 

I hope that you will consider being a living liver donor for me.

 

Living liver donors:

  • Must be healthy people who volunteer to donate
  • Go through a medical evaluation, including education about risks/benefits
  • Can change their minds at any time, no questions asked
  • Are generally back to normal activities 4-6 weeks after the surgery
  • Are covered by my insurance for all costs related to the donation

To learn more, you can read the information at: uwhealth.org/livingdonor. If you want to speak with my living donation champion (name) please call/email (add their contact info here).

 

If you would like to be reviewed as a potential living liver donor, you can complete the form at: uwhealth.org/CanIBeADonor. If you don't have access to a computer, call (608) 263-1384 and someone will help you.

 

I never thought I would be asking for this type of help. Please know that I will respect whatever you decide.

 

Newsletter or Bulletin Sample

 

Church bulletins or community newsletters are another way to get the message out. Following is a sample post that may be helpful to use:

 

Living Liver Donor Needed! Our friend (your name) recently learned that they need a liver transplant, and that a portion of liver from a living donor is their best chance of survival. If you are healthy, over age 18 and willing to donate a portion of your liver, please complete the form at uwhealth.org/CanIBeADonor. If you wish to learn more about living donation, go to uwhealth.org/livingdonor. If you wish to speak to (champion's name), (your name) living donor champion, please call (champion's number) or email (champion's email).