Donor Resources

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 and Research Center of Eastern Virginia 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.

As a donor family member you may wish to communicate with the recipient(s) of your loved one's corneas. Writing to the recipients can sometimes be a comfort. Some donor family members who write choose to share a bit of information about their loved one: their family, occupation, interests, etc. Recipients do appreciate these letters.

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

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 and Research Center of Eastern Virginia
600 Gresham Drive
Norfolk, VA 23507

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

Allow extra mailing time

  • The Lions Medical Eye Bank and Research Center of Eastern Virginia 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 and Research Center of Eastern Virginia 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.