The Decision to Write

As an organ transplant donor family, you have suffered a loss and been a part of giving a wonderful gift to someone you don’t know. Deciding to write to the recipient(s) is a personal choice that you may find helps you with your grieving and finding closure. You may send a letter or you may feel more comfortable sending a simple card. A letter from a donor’s family may encourage a recipient to write, knowing that the family is ready and willing to receive correspondence.

Maintaining confidentiality—yours and the recipient’s

All correspondence is anonymous. The identities of the recipient, the donor and both their families are kept confidential out of respect for everyone’s right to personal privacy. For this reason, information that could lead to your identity is not allowed by any donor or transplant program within Canada. Such information includes, but is not limited to:

Even without a name, your message could be one of the most powerful and meaningful messages a recipient could ever receive

Where do I begin?

Include what you feel comfortable telling the donor’s family about your loved one. People care about your experience. You may find the following suggestions helpful:

When should I write?

There is no time limit—you can do it whenever you are ready. Suggestions are:

Where do I send my letter?

Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. On a separate piece of paper, write your full name, the date of your transplant and your telephone number.  Place the envelope in another envelope for mailing. Send or drop off the envelope directly to the Transplant Manitoba-Gift of Life Program.

820 Sherbrook Street
Health Sciences Centre
Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R9

A donor coordinator will review your card or letter to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for both you and the recipient(s). You will be contacted if changes are necessary.

The Transplant Manitoba-Gift of Life Program forwards each letter to the appropriate provincial donor program, that in turn forwards it to the recipient(s). Please allow several weeks for this process to be completed.

Will I hear back from the recipient(s)?

Many recipients are overwhelmed with emotion and may have difficulty expressing their gratitude. Some may respond to your letter, while others may make the choice not to write.

Having trouble or need advice?

If the right words seem hard to find, or you have any questions or concerns about writing, please contact Transplant Manitoba-Gift of Life and we would be happy to help.