How to write a confidential letter to your recipient.
Lifeline of Ohio is dedicated to maintaining that confidentiality while recognizing the benefits of communication between a donor family and recipient. Lifeline of Ohio facilitates written correspondence between the transplant recipient and the donor family. All correspondence is completely anonymous and identities are kept confidential.
Guidelines and Tips for Writing to Transplant Recipients
By saying “yes” to donation, your loved one has shared the “Gift of Life.” Many times families want to write to the transplant recipients of their loved one’s organs to let the recipients know how they feel about the donation process and to share a little information about their loved one. The decision to write is entirely personal and Lifeline of Ohio is here to support you in any way we can.
Many people ask what information they should include in their letter. Here are some helpful ideas:
- Include only your first name. (Do not include your last name, address, or phone number)
- Include personal information about yourself and your loved one: age, interests, hobbies, and/or family information.
- Mention special memories with your loved one.
- You can send a card or a letter.
- On a separate piece of paper write your full name, the full name of your loved one who was a donor, and the date of death. (This will allow us to correctly identify the recipient and forward your correspondence.)
- If there is more than one transplant recipient, we can photocopy your letter and forward it to each recipient for you. (If you would like for us to copy this letter to all of the recipients, please indicate this on a separate piece of paper.)
- Send your card or letter to Lifeline of Ohio, Attn: Bereavement Services Coordinator, 770 Kinnear Rd., Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43212.
- You will receive a note confirming that the letter was forwarded.
- Reminder: any information in your correspondence that might breach confidentiality will be taken out.
It is our hope that writing this letter will help you and the transplant recipients. In maintaining confidentiality, we cannot provide you with specific information about the recipients, but if we can be of assistance to you as you write your letter, please feel free to contact us.
Donor Family and Recipient Meetings
Many times Lifeline of Ohio is asked if individuals can meet their donor family or recipients. The decision to donate is confidential, and Lifeline of Ohio is dedicated to maintaining that confidence. At the time of donation, the anonymity of the process is explained and the opportunity to meet recipients is not promised. If the mutual desire of both the donor family and recipients is to meet, Lifeline of Ohio does not hinder these wishes.
Several criteria must be met for donor families and recipients to meet:
- Independent communication between both parties (Writing a note, letter, or card).
- At least 6 months has passed since the donation/transplant.
- Donor family and recipients agree that they are open to the request.
- Contact has been made to the Bereavement Services Coordinator at Lifeline of Ohio expressing in writing that you want to meet the donor family/recipients.
- Both the donor family and recipient must sign a general release and return it to Lifeline of Ohio.
Once the criteria have been met, information on “Things to Consider” will be provided and Lifeline of Ohio will work to arrange the meeting.
Funeral Home Recognition: The Lasting Legacy Program
Lifeline of Ohio can help you acknowledge your loved one’s donation during your calling hours or memorial service at the funeral home. Lifeline of Ohio will coordinate this for you. Items we provide at no cost to your funeral director include:
A tasteful framed remembrance for display at the funeral home. The framed remembrance will be personalized with your loved one’s name and the gift of life they shared. The remembrance is then yours to
keep following the funeral service. Many families choose this subtle acknowledgement as way to honor the donation among their family and friends.
Donor Family green ribbon lapel pins for the immediate family. The green ribbon is a recognized symbol for donation awareness and demonstrates your support of the decision to donate and the lives enhanced through the gift your loved one shared. The pins you will be provided are specific for the donor’s immediate family and engraved with the words “Donor Family.”
Green ribbons for extended family members and friends. Additional green ribbons can also be provided to the funeral home for family and friends who wish to show their support.
Obituary acknowledgement. To publicly acknowledge the donation a line maybe in the obituary, such as “John shared the gift of life through organ/tissue donation” or “John’s generous spirit lives on through
organ/tissue donation.” Some newspapers can also apply the infinity symbol () indicating the donation. Your funeral director can assist you with the appropriate wording and arrangements. Any additional cost for the additional line of type or the symbol or word acknowledging donation will be charged to Lifeline of Ohio.
Grief & Support
We acknowledge that your life has been forever changed, and that you are slowly adjusting to a new normal. Lifeline of Ohio is with you on that journey of moving forward, while never forgetting your Hero of Donation. We will always honor and respect the gifts of life they shared and have found that over time that heroic decision has been a comfort to families in their grief.
If you are finding it difficult to cope with your loss, we are happy to recommend services that may be available in your community too.