If you received a deceased donor organ, you may wish to contact the family of the donor to express your gratitude and well-wishes. This is entirely optional. Some recipients may choose not to contact the family, and some families may not wish to be reminded of their recent loss.
You can write a letter to the family if you wish to initiate contact. Make sure you mail it to the transplant coordinator or social worker at Lahey, who will send the letter to the organ procurement organization (OPO) where your liver or kidney was obtained. The OPO will inform the family that a letter has arrived. Some families may not want to be contacted, so they may take some time to accept the letter or may choose not to accept it at all. If the family wishes to reply, they will do so through the OPO as mediator, who will let you know that a reply has been sent.
A very important aspect of organ donation is anonymity. With that in mind, the OPO will carefully remove all mentions of anybody’s name in the letters. If the relationship progresses to the point where the two parties wish to meet, they may do so by waving their right to privacy.The meeting location will then be arranged in the presence of a specially trained social worker as chaperone. This meeting may make a deep impression on the two parties. Both should understand that sometimes the two families may find a connection and continue to meet, or sometimes they won’t communicate after the first meeting. Remember that every family must be allowed to mourn in their own way.
Breeze is an online program from Lahey to help facilitate organ donations from living donors.