Donor Family Support

Families need to make a decision to support their loved one's wishes to donate during a very difficult time. That's why having the conversation in advance can make the decision easier. Many families feel that despite what they were facing at the time, they were committed to supporting donation to honour a loved one’s wishes and to leave a legacy in their memory by providing the gift of life.

Our donation coordinators recognize the difficult journey after donation and with the family member(s) permission, offer the option of participating in the Donor Family Support Program. 

All families will receive a letter within about two weeks of the donation to tell them what organs and/or tissues were donated. Further support is available for families who wish to participate. Each family member has the option of participating in one or all of the following: 

  • Phone call following organ recovery
  • Follow up letters from the donation coordinator (at three, six and 12 months)
  • Donor Family Experience survey (satisfaction survey)
  • Invitation to Gift of Life Celebration (donor recognition ceremony)
  • Correspondence from transplant recipients (if/when received)

Other supports for donor families

Gift of Life Ceremony

The Gift of Life Ceremony was initiated in 2004 as an annual recognition ceremony to honour donors and their gift of donation. All donor families from the past year prior to six months before the event, are invited to attend with an average attendance of 200 participants. Families are invited to submit photos and brief stories of their loved ones and these stories and photos are displayed during the event. 

Guest speakers consist of transplant recipients and recognition certificates are handed out during the ceremony to the donor families. 

Writing to transplant recipients 

Some families may want to communicate with the organ transplant recipients and share some information about their loved one. Writing to a recipient is a personal decision and the timing of when you write (if at all) may vary. What may be right for you may not be right for someone else.

If you would like to write to the donor family, please review the writing guidelines (.pdf). 

The letter will be reviewed to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for both you and the donor family, before it is sent on.