Losing a loved one changes everything. There will be no phone calls to each other, no more dinners shared and no more holiday celebrations together. It is a time of accepting loss and learning to cope with a new normal. But somehow in this time of loss, some find hope by donating tissues and organs from their loved ones that will enhance the lives of others. Being able to give when it feels that so much has been lost is an incredibly compassionate act. Gift of Hope is grateful for the generosity of these families and strives to help them through their time of lossthrough a range of programs and services.
The Power of Knowing
Most donor families want to know what has happened to the donated tissues and organs. They want to hear about the young mother who received a heart and is now able to see her three daughters grow. They want to hear about the soldier who received bone and tissue to repair his injuries from combat. Gift of Hope helps make this correspondence possible and provides guidelines that allows information to be given while respecting the privacy of both families. There are sample letters to help recipients express their gratitude. There are also sample letters to help donors families write to learn about the transplant outcomes. Within 30 to 45 days after a donation, donor families will receive a letter from Gift of Hope letting them know what organs and tissues were used. A year later, an update is also sent. Some donors and recipients form relationships while others prefer to simply learn that their gifts were received.
The Power of Remembering
Gift of Hope sponsors several programs for donor families to honor their lost loved ones.
- Donor families can choose to create quilt squares for a quilt that is displayed in public areas to let others know about the importance of signing up for the organ donor registry. These visual representations are accompanied by written memories and are touching memorials.
- A forum for written tributes is also provided for donor families on the Gift of Hope website. Periodic writing workshops are held for donor families to help them compose a worthy tribute to post on the website.
- Connection workshops are scheduled where donor families and volunteers work together to prepare memory boxes and blankets for future donor families. A meal following the workshop allows donor families to share their stories. This opportunity for getting involved in the donor process can provide healing.
- Periodic events like a day at the zoo are scheduled for donor families. These enjoyable outings are a way to honor loved ones by sharing stories with others.
- Gift of Hope provides links to a variety of services to help families deal with loss including help for funeral expenses and counseling for children. There are also five staff members dedicated to helping donor families receive proper information and services.
Gift of Hope supports the families of organ and tissue donors through a variety of services. This organization believes that organ and tissue donors provide a legacy unlike any other. Donor families are encouraged to take part in the many activities as part of their grieving process. Knowing that others are now thriving helps provide comfort in a time of profound loss. Sharing the stories of donors is also an effective way to help others understand the importance of becoming part of the organ donor registry. To learn more about family donor services, click on the “contact us” page at www.giftofhope.org. An array of services and compassionate staff are there to help you honor your loved one and deal with the changes in life.