Letters of Love and Healing

The decision to write a transplant recipient is a personal one. Some donor families choose to write to transplant recipients and their families. This can be an opportunity to share information about yourself and your loved one who made the gift of life, and for some families, this sharing can help in the grief journey. 

The choice of writing or not writing to your loved one’s transplant recipients lies with you: however, ARORA’s Family Services Aftercare Department can help to answer any questions or address any concerns that you have as you make your decision.

If your loved one was an organ donor or a cornea donor, you can write a letter to your recipient without receiving correspondence from them first. (Letters to cornea recipients will be forwarded by ARORA to the Arkansas Lions Eye Bank, which will then send to cornea recipients.) Due to the complexities involved with transplantation of donated tissues such as bone, soft tissue, and skin, we are unable to forward correspondence from you to your loved one’s tissue recipients. However, in some cases, a tissue recipient may write to a donor family, to which the family may be able to respond. If you are unsure if you can write a recipient, or to get more information about your loved one’s donation, contact ARORA Family Services Aftercare Department:

Beth Cameron – Aftercare Manager: (501) 907-9138, bcameron@arora.org
Stephanie LaFleur – Aftercare Coordinator: (501 )907-9125, slafleur@arora.org

If you would like to write to the transplant recipients, you may send a card or letter. The following guidelines may assist you in deciding what type of information to include:

Body of letter

  • You may share something about your loved one. Include first names only.
  • You can tell them what state you live in, but not the city. Do not include your address, phone number or the name of the hospital or transplant center where you received your transplant.
  • You may share your job or occupation.
  • You may share your family situation, such a marital status, children, and grandchildren. (Again, please use first names only.)
  • ARORA serves everyone in our service area, which includes a diversity of religious beliefs, so we ask you to be mindful of this when considering religious content.

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 or city where your loved one died.

Mailing your card or letter: 

  • Place it in an unsealed, unaddressed envelope;
  • Place above in a mailing envelope;
  • On a separate piece of paper, please include:
    • your full name;
    • your mailing address;
    • your phone number;
    • your loved one’s full name;
    • date of donation.

Mail correspondence to:

Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency
Attention: Family Services Aftercare
1701 Aldersgate, Suite 4
Little Rock, AR 72205

ARORA Family Services Aftercare staff will review your card or letter to ensure confidentiality (information that may make you identifiable will be removed) and will forward it to the recipient’s transplant center. The transplant center will then send it to the recipient at their discretion.

Since your letter or card must be mailed to ARORA first and then forwarded to the transplant center, please allow extra time for your letter to reach the recipient. It may take several weeks for the transplant recipient to receive your correspondence.

  • ARORA facilitates all correspondence between the donor family and the transplant recipients. All correspondence is completely anonymous, and identities are kept confidential unless the following conditions are met:
  • The donor family and the recipient family have corresponded with each other through letters or cards;
  • Both the donor family and the recipient express the desire to communicate directly with one another in the form of direct letters, phone calls, social media, or in person;
  • Both the donor family and the recipient family have signed a Consent and General Release of Information

You may or may not receive a response from the recipients. Some of the transplant recipients write to their donor family immediately. However, many other transplant recipients have said that they are overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in words. As a result, it may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor family. Some recipients may never be able to write.

If you have questions or need additional information, please call ARORA at (501) 907- 9150 or (866) 660-5433 and ask to speak to the Family Services Aftercare Department.