Donor Family Support

Writing to Recipients


As a member of a donor family, you may wish to communicate with the recipients of your loved one’s organs and/or tissues. Choosing to write to a recipient is a personal decision, and not one that needs to be made immediately.

What you choose to say is entirely up to you. All names are kept confidential unless both parties have agreed to disclose their identities to each other. If you decide to write, below are some guidelines.

  • Write information you are comfortable with sharing about yourself, your loved one and other family members. This may include occupation, hobbies or interests.
  • You may want to write about how your decision to donate has impacted you or your family.
  • You may include the first names of yourself, your loved one and other family members, the state in which you live, and photographs.
  • Sign only your first name.
  • Keep identities anonymous and confidential. Avoid using any last names, street addresses, phone numbers or names of hospitals or physicians.
  • You may feel more comfortable sending a card during the holidays or a “Thinking of You” card if you choose not to write a long letter.

How to mail your letter:

When mailing the card or letter, place it in an unsealed envelope. There is no need to include postage. In the envelope, include your full name and the name and date of death of your loved one on a separate piece of paper.

Mail it to:

204 Sigma Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

Upon receipt of your letter, CORE will review it to ensure confidentiality and then will forward it to the transplant recipient(s).


Will you hear back from your donor family?

Please keep in mind that you may not hear back from the recipient. Some recipients may choose to send a letter or a card in response to your letter. Other recipients may choose not to write to you at this time: this is their personal decision.

Please do not take such inaction personally, as some transplant recipients feel overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude. We do know that recipients appreciate hearing from donor families. We also can appreciate how difficult it may have been for you to write this letter. We thank you for your thoughtfulness.

For further questions or concerns about writing to your loved one’s recipient(s), please call 800-DONORS-7 (800-366-6777).