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Donor Family Resources

Every day, the staff at the Lions Medical Eye Bank is grateful for all of the Donor Families who consented to donation and who supported their loved one's decision to become an organ and tissue donor. We could not restore sight to patients in need without the assistance of donor's family members, and we recognize that every time someone gives the Gift of Sight, a family is also grieving the loss of their loved one. 

There are many resources that can help you recover from the death of a family member or friend. We have listed some of these resources on this page. You will receive correspondence from the Lions Medical Eye Bank with information about your loved one's gift (typically 2-3 months after the donation). If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to the eye bank: info@lionseyebank.org.

For bereaved families who have experienced the death of a child, this provides referral information for local chapters, education, correspondence, and a newsletter. 

A special seminar and support group sponsored by people who understand what you are experiencing and want to offer comfort and encouragement. 

National non-profit bereavement outreach organization available to those who are grieving a suicide death of family or friends, organized by and for survivors. All staff and volunteers have been directly impacted by a suicide death.  

A set of resources for adults about working through grief for themselves and for their children. Created by LifeNet Health, Hampton Road's Organ Procurement Organization.

Support, resources, and connection for children/ teens.

Corresponding through the Lions Medical Eye Bank Logo

Writing to Transplant Recipients

The Lions Medical Eye Bank supports written correspondence between transplant recipients and donor families. All correspondence is completely anonymous and identities are kept confidential. 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.

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 would like to write to the transplant recipients, you may send a card or letter. Here is some guidance for your correspondence:

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 or phone number.

  • Do not reveal the name of the hospital.

Mailing Your Card or Letter

Mail your correspondence to:

Lions Medical Eye Bank

600 Gresham Drive

Norfolk, VA 23507

Please include:

  • Your correspondence

    • If you are including an envelope for your card or letter, please do not seal that envelope. 

  • A separate piece of paper with the following information

    • Your full name

    • Your loved one’s full name

    • Date of the donation 

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.

The decision to write to transplant recipients is a very personal one. All correspondence is completely anonymous

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. Other may take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing to their donor family.

If you would like further information about writing to recipients, or have any further questions, please contact the Lions Medical Eye Bank at info@lionseyebank.org.

Share Your Story

Hampton Roads Advisory Council on Organ Donation at a round table at a previous Donor Appreciation Luncheon

The selfless gift of sight comes at the greatest of sacrifices, the loss of a loved one. For some, an anatomical gift, like organ, tissue, or eye donation, can be the bridge between life and death that soothes the pain of such loss.

Occasionally, the Lions Medical Eye Banks asks Donor Families to share the story of their loved one, and their experience with Eye Donation, either through written publications like our newsletter, or at events held for Donor 

Families, Transplant Recipients, Surgeons and other healthcare professionals, Lions Club Members, and other community members. If you are interested in sharing your story during one of these events, please contact Special Projects Consultant Donna Stephens.

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