Communicating With Your Donor Family or Recipients

Contact Information

(608) 265-0356

uwotd@uwhealth.org

 

Organ Tissue/Eye Referrals

(866) 894-2676

UW Organ and Tissue Donation Donor Family Services (DFS) staff members facilitate communication between donor families and recipients. Many donor families and recipients find great comfort in, and are grateful for, the communication they receive from each other. We realize donor families move through the grieving process in different ways, at their own pace, and the decision to communicate is a personal choice.

 

Remember, your way is the right way for you to grieve. Recipients may be dealing with health issues, or struggling to find the right words to say. Donor family members and recipients should try to be patient, and continue to write if it helps in your healing process.

 

Donor Families: Writing To Your Loved One's Recipients

 

When you are ready to communicate with your loved one's recipients, the first step is to write a letter anonymously through the DFS office. These directions will help guide you through this process:

  • Share information about your loved one. You may wish to describe his/her personality, interests, occupations or other information that you feel comfortable sharing.
  • You may identify your loved one by his/her first name, and include photos. To maintain confidentiality, please do not include other identifying information in your letter (i.e. last name, address, email address, etc.)
  • Include a separate piece of paper with your loved one’s full name and date of donation. This information is necessary for identification purposes.
  • Send these two items to DFS via US mail or email.

Writing to Your Donor Family

 

It is important to remember that the donor family has experienced the loss of a loved one and may choose not to respond for a long time, or at all. Don't let that keep you from writing again. It may be difficult to find the appropriate words to express the gratitude you have to your donor family. Here are some tips for writing your first letter:

  • To maintain confidentiality, do not include any identifying information (i.e., last name, address, city, telephone number or photos). You may include the name of the state you live in, but not your address.
  • Acknowledge your donor family's loss of a loved one.
  • Say "thank you." It may not capture all of your feelings, but it is a start.
  • Include personal information such as your occupation, hobbies and interests.
  • Share information about your family (spouse, children, grandchildren, etc). Use first names only.
  • Tell your story. Explain how the transplant experience has changed your life. Describe activities you are able to do as a result of the transplant.
  • Please do not include photos in your initial letter
  • Include a separate piece of paper with your full name and date of transplant. This information is necessary for identification purposes.
  • Send these two items to DFS via US mail or email.
  • To protect the confidentiality of both the donor family and recipient, all correspondence is initially facilitated through UW Organ and Tissue Donation DFS. Any letters received by DFS will be forwarded to the donor family or recipient.

Send letters to:
UW OTD DFS
450 Science Drive, Suite 220
Madison, WI 53711-9135
Email: dfs@uwhealth.org
 

After exchanging at least one letter between the donor family and recipient, there are options for direct communication.