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writing to donor families

Have you ever wondered how you could thank the family who made your corneal transplant possible?

The Lions Medical Eye Bank, a non-profit transplant agency, works with donor families who have unselfishly given permission for eye donation after the death of a family member.

Oftentimes, donor families find comfort in hearing from the recipients of their loved one’s corneas. A simple card, thank you note, or letter can be uplifting to the family and reassure them that they made a wonderful decision to help others in the midst of their grief.

Do You Wish To Correspond With Your Donor Family?

Here’s how:

  1. Please address your correspondence to: “Donor Family”
  2. On another sheet of paper, please write your name and the date of your transplant so that we will know which donor family to send it to. This will not be sent with your correspondence.
  3. Mail to: Lions Medical Eye Bank
    600 Gresham Drive
    Norfolk, Virginia 23507
  4. The Eye Bank will mail your correspondence to the donor family and all confidentiality will be maintained.

If you have questions, please call the Lions Medical Eye Bank at 800-453-6059.

Talk about yourself . . .

• Your job or occupation.
• Your family situation (spouse, children, grandchildren).
• Your hobbies or interests.
• Since the religion of the donor’s family is unknown, please consider this when making religious comments.

Talk about your transplant experience . .

• Use simple language.
• Recognize the donor family and thank them for their gift.

What was the wait like for you and your family?

• Explain how the transplant has improved your vision and changed your life.
• Can you participate in activities now that you couldn’t before transplant?

Explain what has happened in your life, and how your renewed vision has made it more meaningful . . .

• Did you celebrate a birthday?
• Did your son or daughter marry?
• Did you become a parent or a grandparent?
• Did you return to school or accept a new job?

Closing your card or letter

• Sign your first name only.
• Do not reveal your address, city, phone number, name of transplant center or physician.

Will I hear from the donor family?

You may or may not. Some donor families have said that writing about their loved one and their decision to donate helps them in their grieving process. Other donor families, even though they are comfortable with their decision to donate, prefer privacy and choose not to write to the transplant recipients.

Remember, the donor’s family may still be coping with the loss of their loved one and individuals manage grief in different ways. While you may be celebrating the anniversary of receiving your transplant, it is also the anniversary of someone else’s loss.

Please communicate in a sensitive manner.


mother of bank recipient
As a corneal recipient you may wish to communicate with your donor's family. The decision may be difficult, but donor families do appreciate letters and often find comfort in receiving them.