Part Three of Three in our “Aftercare” Series
To wrap up our “Aftercare” series, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions donor families have for our Aftercare department. The fact is, many donor families ask common questions.
From answering these questions to providing tools and resources, to facilitating communication between recipients and donor families, Donor Alliance is proud to be a resource for donor families once the donation process is complete.
“At Donor Alliance, the donation process does not end after the recovery of organs and tissues – we hope that it is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the donor’s family,” said Joyleen Helcoski, Donor Alliance Aftercare Coordinator. “It is an honor to walk with these incredible families along their journey of loss, hope, and healing, and to learn about their loved ones – our heroes – who give the gift of life.”
Common Questions Asked by Donor Families (and Answers!)
Q: What’s the process when it comes to receiving updates and communicating with tissue recipients?
A: “Many people don’t know that donated tissue, like bone grafts, skin grafts, and heart valves, go through an extensive process to prepare the grafts for transplant – this can take up to six months,” said Helcoski. While Donor Alliance is not provided with specific information about tissue recipients, donor families can request an update on the outcome of their loved one’s donation after the six month point and learn the number of recipients their loved one has helped. Fill out a request for more information.
Q: How can I get involved with Donor Alliance?
A: If you’re looking for a way to give back or volunteer your time, we’d love to have you join the 200 volunteers from Colorado and Wyoming in our Advocate for Life program. Advocates for Life are essential partners in raising awareness about organ and tissue donation. While a variety of volunteer opportunities are available, the key role of our Advocates is to educate and inspire the public to better understand and support donation. Interested in volunteering but not sure if you should dive into the full program just yet? Come out and help at the Donor Dash! Volunteering at the Donor Dash is a fun way to give some of your time while you decide if you’d like to join the program. Annually, we participate in parades throughout Colorado and Wyoming. If you and your family would like to walk to spread awareness, you can always view a list of our events. Be sure to also follow us on social (Colorado, Wyoming) for the latest volunteer opportunities.
Q: What Donor Alliance events can donor families attend?
A: Donor Family Tribute: Every year in Colorado and every other year in Wyoming, Donor Alliance hosts the Donor Family Tribute. This event recognizes and honors the families of those who have given the gift of organ and tissue donation. This memorable event, themed Lives Transformed, enables reflection on those lost and offers hope for new life that comes as a result of organ and tissue donation.
Donor Dash: Come celebrate the gift of life with us at the Donor Dash. The 21st Annual Donor Dash will be held on Sunday, July 19, at Denver’s Washington Park. There are several ways that Donor Alliance donor families can honor their loved one who was an organ, eye and tissue donor at the Donor Dash. One way is to have a sign featuring a picture of their loved one in the Memorial Garden at the event. The Memorial Garden is a quiet space where families can visit their loved one’s sign before or after the race.
Wyoming Scavenger Hunt: The annual Donate Life Wyoming Scavenger Hunt aims to honor the lives of organ and tissue donors, celebrate the lives of transplant recipients and recognize those who continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. Donor families are welcome to attend and honor their loved one with an ornament in our Donate Life Forest. This special place honors those connected to organ, eye and tissue donation; donors, recipients, living donors and wait list candidates.
Q: How can I honor my loved one’s gifts?
A: Donor Family Quilt Project: Donor Alliance donor families can create a quilt square in honor of their loved one, which will be sewn into a larger quilt and displayed at various events and gatherings across Colorado and Wyoming. Download a quilt square template and release form.
Forever Generous Suncatcher: Made of recycled glass, this 4¼ inch suncatcher can be displayed as a reminder that your loved one will always be: “Forever Generous through Donation.” Fill out the form to request a suncatcher.
Donor Memory Cards: Donor Alliance donor families can submit their loved one’s photos and a poem, quote or prayer to create a memory card in their loved one’s honor. Find out more information about the special memory cards.
Q: Does Donor Alliance provide grief counseling?
A: While Donor Alliance does not facilitate grief counseling, we can provide you with information and tools to help find grief support for you or someone in your family. You can request these grief resources at any time.
This post is the final part in our three-part “Aftercare” series. If you haven’t already, give post one, “Resources for Donor Families,” and post two, “Connecting Donor Families & Recipients” a read. For more information and more aftercare resources, please visit the donor family resources page. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor any time on our websites: DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.
Are there more common questions from donor families you like to see answered? Let us know!