Donor Family Support Services

Organ and tissue donation may be the only chance many people have to save and improve lives. Yet we realize donation may not be top of mind for many families. That’s why Gift of Life Michigan informs and supports families as you go through this process. We also provide resources and opportunities after your family member has given these precious gifts.

The Gift of Life

What You Can Expect During Organ Donation

Our donation support specialists and donation coordinators will walk with you on this often unexpected journey as you and your loved one make the ultimate act of human kindness. They will answer your questions, keep you updated and work with the hospital to provide “memory making” opportunities of your family member.

A couple pins a quilt square up, which they personalized in memory of their loved one who was an organ, tissue or eye donor.
“I want to learn about their loved one. I want to learn about their likes, their dislikes. And then when it’s appropriate, that’s when we transition to discussing organ donation and the lives that could be saved.”

– Anthony Honeywell, Donation Support manager


Grief Resources

Family members of donors are very special to Gift of Life, so we work hard to support and help you during your grieving process and beyond.

Affectionate friends walking at sunset in a park

Writing to Recipients

Many donor family members and transplant recipients wish to contact each other. We support and encourage this, and facilitate the sending of anonymous letters. 


Donor Rememberance Quilts

Quilts are displayed at events and memorials statewide to spread the message of organ donation.

Family Care Guide

Resources for Donor Families

The Family Care Guide includes the following information, and more:

  • What can be donated
  • Two pathways: Donation after brain death and donation after circulatory death
  • How we honor your loved one’s donor registration or, if he or she wasn’t registered, how you have an opportunity to help others
  • Timing, transportation and funeral arrangements
  • Writing to recipients
  • Other things to think about, and additional resources
Donate Life Logo

And here is a Donate Life logo for use with published obituaries and funeral materials.

What Comes Next

What You Can Expect After Organ Donation

Our Family Support Specialists offer donor families resources for the grieving process, as well as multiple opportunities to continue to honor their loved one and to support this cause.

Here is some of what we offer:

  • Bereavement/grief resources
  • Guidance on how to write to the recipients of your family member’s gifts.  Information also is available to recipients on how to write to their donor’s family.
  • The opportunity to create a shadow box to honor your family member.
  • You will be invited to an annual ceremony that honors the past year’s donors. The Michigan Donor Family Gathering includes a memorial photo slideshow, where each donor’s name is read aloud to honor them personally.
  • An opportunity to join the Donor Family Advisory Committee, which acts as an advocacy arm of Gift of Life Michigan. The group has a broad spectrum of organ, eye and tissue donor families. Many members of the committee also belong to the Michigan Donor Family Council, a separate nonprofit organization.
  • Information about the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, which brings together recipients, donor family members, living donors and supporters in a different city every other year.
  • An invitation to include a photo of your loved in the Circle of Life Garden at the LIFE Walk/Run in Detroit each July.
  • Information on how to become a Gift of Life Michigan volunteer.

Need more info or have questions? Email our Family Support Specialists or call (866) 500-5801, ext. 1299 or 734-922-1299.

The Family Support Services team is here to help donor families through the donation process, including follow-up services long after the donation has taken place.
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