SightLife will contact you a couple of weeks after the donation with some important information about the donation. This includes the outcome of the donation and bereavement materials many of our families find helpful on their personal grief journey. We also welcome you at our special donor family events that are held throughout the year.

Jeanne

I didn’t know you can get joy from grief, but you can. You can have two opposing emotions simultaneously.

— Jeanne, mother of cornea donor Sarah

Sharing your loved one's story

People have found that sharing stories of their lost loved ones helps their spirit live on, protects memories and frequently brings comfort during the process. This time can be an opportunity to share such stories with one another.

Click here to read to a guide that can help facilitate the story sharing process. Sometimes, one finds their friends and families are hesitant to talk about a person who they have lost. These stories actually bring them comfort. SightLife treasures such stories and provides opportunities for you to share and celebrate your loved one’s life and the gracious decision to help others through eye donation. Your experience will help spread the word about donation and help other families who have lost a loved one.

You can read stories of donors here and cornea recipients here.



Writing to your cornea recipient

The decision to write to your loved one’s transplant recipient is a personal one and entirely up to you. For many, this helps provide some healing while going through the grieving process. You may choose to share information about yourself and your loved one—anything that might help the memory of your loved one live on. Transplant recipients consistently express appreciation for the letters they receive and welcome learning about the person who is responsible for the incredible gift of sight. Click here to read a sample letter written to cornea recipient. If you decide to write, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Keep identities anonymous and confidential. You may include the first names of you, your loved one, and family members.
  • Include information that you feel comfortable sharing about you, your loved one and other family members. This may include occupation, hobbies and interests, or perhaps special things your loved one enjoyed.
  • You may include the state in which you live. Avoid street addresses, city names, phone numbers, or names of hospitals or physicians.
  • Since the religion of the transplant recipient’s family is unknown, please consider this if you are including religious comments.
  • Place your card or letter in an unsealed envelope. Include on a separate sheet of paper your full name, your loved one's full name, and the date of the donation. Please send correspondence to:
    Family Services Manager
    SightLife
    1200 6th Ave, Ste 300
    Seattle, WA 98101

Please keep the following in mind:

You may or may not receive a response to your card or letter. Some transplant recipients like to wait for their surgery to heal somewhat before writing. Others feel overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude through written communication. It could take several months or even years before they feel comfortable writing.

All letters are reviewed to ensure confidentiality. Your correspondence will be delivered to SightLife, where the Family Services Manager will review and then forward it to the recipient family. This process may take a few weeks, so please allow extra time in the event your correspondence is time sensitive.

Hearing from the recipient

Recipients are also given the opportunity to write to the donor family. If you do receive a letter from your donor family, we recommend the following:

  • Pick a quiet time when you can give it your full attention.
  • Pick a quiet place without distractions.
  • Think about having someone there to support you.

Reflections newsletter

SightLife has a quarterly e-newsletter, "Reflections", for its donor families. If you would like to be on this email mailing list for this resource please email DonorFamilyServices@sightlife.org and we will add you to our list.

Donation celebrations

Once a year in each of the regions we serve, SightLife, along with our partners, invite donor families, recipients and donation community members to come together in remembrance of their loved ones who gave the gift of a lifetime through organ, tissue and cornea donation. This is a great opportunity to share your unique experience with others, learn more about how a cornea transplant transforms one’s life, meet the SightLife staff, honor your loved one and celebrate donation.

Donation Celebration

Donor Family Quilt

SightLife invites donor families to participate in the making of our Donor Family Quilt. Dedicated to the memory of your loved one who has given the gift of sight, each quilt square is a symbol of love and life. If you’re interested in creating a quilt square, you may download instructions here.

Quilt

Donor Family Questionnaire

Our donor families are extremely important to us, and we take your feedback very seriously as it helps us to better serve our families in the future. Please take the time to fill out our Donor Family Questionnaire here.

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you. Please contact our Family Services department at donorfamilyservices@sightlife.org. To read stories of hope and join our community, visit facebook.com/throughNewEyes.

Email: donorfamilyservices@sightlife.org
Phone: 800.847.5786, ext. 138
Address: 1200 6th Ave, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98101