By Rae Price - December 21, 2023
Committed to its mission to fulfill the wishes of eye donors and their families to help another overcome blindness through transplantation and research, Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank is also dedicated to following up with donor families and cornea recipients.
Providing the opportunity to connect allows donor families to help find solace and healing after the death of their loved one as they realize how much the gift of sight means to the recipient. Similarly, recipients can express appreciation for the life-changing gift they received.
The correspondence begins with an outcome letter from RMLEB to the donor’s family letting them know if the donated eye tissue was used for transplant or research. If transplanted, confidentiality is a priority and the family is only told the age, sex, and general location of the recipient if known.
Because we know some families are eager to learn more about the recipient, we include instructions on writing to each other. Again, with an emphasis on keeping information confidential until each party decides to disclose personal information, letters are sent through RMLEB where the name of the donor and recipient are verified, and the information is forwarded to the appropriate individuals.
Families are encouraged to share a little bit of information about the donor, perhaps something about their career, hobbies, or interests.
People who have had their sight restored are often the ones who initiate the letter writing. Many write about their personal cornea transplant experience, including information about their disease or injury and how the transplant has positively affected their life.
Most of all, recipients like to thank the donor family — expressing appreciation for the gift of eye tissue donation, and a decision that was made at a time of grief.
Each donor family and recipient is different. Some respond right away, while others wait months or even longer to reply. Additionally, some people may never write or respond, having expressed that they feel overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their thoughts in writing.
If the transplant occurred outside the United States or if the recipient does not speak English, RMLEB will have the letter translated at no charge. Reply letters from recipients can also be translated, if necessary.
If you are a donor family, or a cornea recipient whose gift was donated or provided through RMLEB and would like more information visit our web site:
How to Write to a Transplant Recipient
How to Write to a Donor Family