writing to transplant recipients and families
The decision to write to transplant recipients is a very personal one.
Sometimes, donor families choose to write to transplant recipients and their families to share information about themselves and their loved one. For some donor families, this sharing with the transplant recipient helps them in their grieving process.
Whether or not you decide to write to the transplant recipients, it’s your choice.
The Lions Medical Eye Bank supports written correspondence between transplant recipients and donor families. All correspondence is completely anonymous and identities are kept confidential. If you would like to write to the transplant recipients, you may send a card or letter. Here is some information you may choose to include.
Provide general information
Your loved one’s first name only.
Their job or occupation
Their hobbies or interests.
The city and state in which you live.
Your family situation such as marital status, children, or grandchildren.
Since the religion of the transplant recipient’s family is unknown, please consider this if you are including religious comments.
Closing your card or letter
Sign your first name only.
Do not reveal your address, city, or phone number.
Do not reveal the name of the hospital.
Mailing your card or letter
Place it in an unsealed envelope.
Include in the mailing envelope a separate piece of paper with:
Your full name
Your loved one’s full name
Date of the donation
Mail to: Lions Medical Eye Bank
600 Gresham Drive
Norfolk, VA 23507
Allow extra mailing time
The Lions Medical Eye Bank coordinator will first review your card or letter to ensure confidentiality, then will forward it to the recipient.
Since your card or letter must be mailed to the Lions Medical Eye Bank first and then forwarded, please allow extra time for your letter to reach the recipients.
It may take a few weeks after you have mailed it for the transplant recipient to receive it.
Will I hear from the recipient?
You may or may not receive a response from them. Many transplant recipients have said that they are overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. Others may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor family.
"Thanks to your generous gift of love my baby's eyes are now absolutely beautiful and her sight is nearly perfect. You and your family have made such a difference in our lives. Each time my baby looks at me with those shining eyes and smiles her innocent baby smile, I think of you and what the pain of losing your child must have been like. We mothers love our children with all our hearts and souls and that's the way I love your child too, because I have a part of him in my baby. Each time she looks out at the world around her -- he's there! -- and I am so grateful that you chose to enrich our lives in this way." (from a letter written by the mother of a transplant recipient to their donor family)
If you want further information about writing recipients, please call the Lions Medical Eye Bank at 1-800-453-6059.
The Lions Medical Eye Bank is a non-profit transplant agency providing families the opportunity to donate eye tissue, health care professionals the means to end blindness, and patients the hope of clearly seeing form, color, and motion.