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Letter to My Organ Donor's Family

Letter to My Organ Donor's Family

Masha, before the transplant
Masha, before the transplant

Dear Family,

I am sure this letter may be difficult to read. It is difficult to write. It is both painful and joyous. The reason I am writing is to thank you.

"Thank you" is an expression which is used quite often and sometimes just in passing. This is a different kind of "Thank you." It is a "Thank you" that defies English, French or any language.

How do you say thank you that means that because of you and your daughter, I am alive to speak any words at all? I am alive at fifty-one years to continue living.

My promise to you is that I will never waste one moment of my lifeThe importance and immense meaning of the gift you and your daughter have given me, truly cannot be expressed in words.

I can try, though. I must try, because I think you should know that this life that was saved is a life of promise. My promise to you is that I will never waste one moment of it.

I have two grown children of my own. I am a mother, a musician, an artist and a spiritual person.

If you can imagine it, before the gift your daughter gave me, it was becoming very challenging to do anything in my life. Brushing my teeth required effort. Eating became difficult. Even with oxygen, I still had to be in a wheelchair if I wanted to go out.

How do I share with you that you gave me life back? That you gave me a better life? My children and my husband thank you. My friends thank you.

And I think you should know that not one day goes by that I do not think of the generous spirit of yours, and of the woman who enabled me to breathe again.

There is a television commercial that says, "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters." That is, indeed, true.

To add to that, as a singer and a songwriter, I thought my music was gone forever. As a mother, it became more difficult to see the pain in my children's faces.

I want you to know something else.

When I got the call they had found a donor for me, and that this person was a young woman, I thought of my own twenty-two year old daughter, who rode with me in the ambulance to the hospital for the surgery.

I cried during that whole ride to the hospital. Not because I was scared or happy. I cried because I knew that on that day, somewhere, a family lost a precious, beloved person in their life.

My heart was with you and is still with you.

She is with me, literally, with every breath I takeOn a more positive note, please know that this woman, who gave me the gift of life, is my hero. I literally owe my life to her and to you, who had the bravery and strength to allow this procedure to take place in the midst of your grief.

Masha, after the transplant
Masha, after the transplant
Please believe me when I tell you that, to me, your daughter is an angel. She is on my shoulders; she is like a butterfly in my garden. She is the music inspired by Beethoven; she is a painting from the heart of Da Vinci. She is the Book written by the hand of G‑d; she is a rainbow and a sunset. She is the most beautiful person I have never known, and I carry her within me. Every day.

Yes, please know that her spirit lives. I hold her in my heart. And she is with me, literally, with every breath I take.

May G‑d Bless You for giving me my life back. For giving me a new life with no more pain. A life where I don't have to fight for every breath I take.

I love you without knowing you and I am here as living proof that life goes on.

I promise to take good care of her. I promise to honor her with everything I do, especially for others who have suffered like me.

If you have any special requests at all, just let me know.

With all my heart, I wish you peace. I wish you love. And above all, faith in knowing that this beautiful woman has allowed me to live again.

Your daughter, in life and in spirit, is a miracle. I am her miracle.

Thank you.

With all the love from the deepest part of my heart,

Dedicated to the anonymous donor who in her death, gave Masha life on October 30, 2007.

Melody Masha Pierson is a 51-year-old Jewish woman in Montreal, and member of the Chabad Montreal Torah Centre. She is the happy and grateful recipient of a new pair of lungs following a double lung transplant. It was her writing and Torah learning that provided her with the strength and faith to stay positive and productive through her challenging time. Melody can be heard weekly on Montreal's Radio Shalom.
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Discussion (90)
September 12, 2016
Meeting Donor parents
I received the right lung of my donor on 10-20-2015. Have recently confirmed who the donor is and Thursday, this week will meet the donor's family. He was 16 years old and died in a high school football game. He was an outstanding young man an outstanding athlete. His organs were donated to 7 recipients including his grandfather who received his kidney. On the 15th, there is a meeting of some of the recipients and the parents with some media coverage to encourage organ donation. On the 28th, his mother asked me if I would attend a memorial for him. I know that the school district has renamed the football field after him. It is a small town and the support from the town has been overwhelming to the family. As the recipient, I want to do anything I can to support them. Your letter is well written and points out that words can never express the gratitude for this gift of life. Cam'ron is with me every day and I to pray that I can take care of this gift with purpose.
August 9, 2016
Very nice
I wish I had your writing ability. I received a liver from a young man who died in an accident in 2014. The letter I wrote to his family was nowhere near as well written--you expressed my thoughts better than I did. It's a strange feeling to be so elated about a new chance at life while being aware of the acute loss on the part of the donor's family.

Congratulations on your new opportunities.
Ronnie Childs
Richmond VA
May 24, 2016
im a mother to a 5 year girl, who had liver and kidney transplant on 22 Dec 2015.i have not yet written to the parents of the donor yet but will be doing it soon. thank you can never be enough and I thank God for answering our prayers and again I also felt so sad on the day of the transplant that there is a family out there mourning while we were happy that finally our daughter will no longer have to be dialysed daily. but I always believe that when someone gets born already the journey has been put on how your life will play out.
south africa
May 2, 2015
Lovely and inspiring letter, Melody - I hope you are still doing well and by now perhaps even have heard back from your donor. As a single lung recipient - today and tomorrow mark my 2-yr anniversary - I finally sat down and did my letter prior to finding your blog. My intention has always been to do so but it took me this long. My hope is that the donor family will be happy to receive it - and my hope is to meet them, God willing. I write well, or so have been told and graded, and put words to paper a dozen times and also wrote words in my head a hundred dozen times while driving, staring at the ocean, walking.....always wanting my composition perfect - matching the gift. Tonight I realized that the words, perfect ones, do not exist that can convey my sympathy for their loss nor the depth of my gratitude. In lieu of perfection, I sent my most profound sincerity and pray it will be well received whether I hear from them or not. Bless us all.
January 29, 2015
Gift of life
What a wonderful letter. I hope you hear from the donors family. I lost my 29 y/o daughter 2014. I'm just finally finding the courage to write letters to the recipients. I wish I had you talent to write so eloquently. My daughter wanted to be a donor. She was always giving gifts and loved doing for others. I know she'd be happy to know as she left this life she was able to give the gift of life to others. She was a special Ed teacher and she loved children. One of the recipients was a 7 y/o boy. I know she's smiling down from heaven. God bless you for writing to your donors family.
Batavia, NY
January 11, 2014
Cathy Marlow
Cathy Marlow,
Contact the organ procurement agency which organized the transplants & let them know you would like to be in contact with the recipients. Perhaps you can eventually meet.

We also have groups looking for our families on Facebook which you could join.

I received 2 hearts in February 2000 at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland & am still looking for my donor families. God Bless them.
Judee Hill
January 10, 2014
my daughter passed in octomber from a heart attact, 43 my oldest i,m griving so much she had three sons one daughter , she was my best friend i can,r get over seeing her like that, i would like to get to speak to her people who got her orgons , a lady got her lungs , a man got her liver and another man got one kidney and aman in illioose got the other kidney, but i don,t know how to go how to get to speak to them .
cathy marlow
December 4, 2013
Donated Lungs
My daughter received Two new healthy lungs from a young lady who died in a car crash. She is celebrating 10 years this month! My daughter had CF. Thank you does not seem to be enough!
December 3, 2013
organ transplants
If any of you are involved with Facebook, we have support groups there for organ transplants. One group is called Organ Transplants Across the Globe. Another group is for trying to find matches of donor families & recipients. It is called WANT TO MEET MY DONOR FAMILY, please. Feel free to friend me & ask to join. I will happily add you.

I am a very grateful double heart transplant recipient & would love to meet my donor families. My transplants were at the Cleveland Clinic on February 7 & 8 of 2000. My angel donors will always be honored in my heart.
Judee Hill
November 29, 2013
Tissue donation; to Louis & Michelle
My son donated his organs; liver, lungs, & kidneys, as well as tissue; heart valves, following a deadly car crash in March 2009. We have corresponded anonymously with his organ recipients, but will not hear from or know anything about those who may have received his heart valves at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Perhaps it's different for tissue donations in the U.S.
Heather Talbot
Toronto, Canada