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How long is it after transplant can you send a thank you note to the donor?

My son had his stem cell transplant on 23rd September this year and I would very much like to send the donor a thank you letter. I just wanted to know if anyone can tell me how long after transplant it is before you can do this.


  • Hi

    You can send your son's donor a thank you letter anytime after transplant. There are just a couple of conditions for example you and your son's identity must be anonymous for a period of 2 years, and you should not include any information that may identify you or where you live. The letter/card has to go through Anthony Nolan who will pass it onto the donor. This is usually done by handing the letter to your transplant coordinator who will forward it to Anthony Nolan, they in turn will forward it to your donor. Any further communication has to be anonymous for the 2 year period.

    I made contact with my donor about 3 months after transplant, it was a thank you letter. Just a few weeks later I received a reply which meant so much at the time when I was quite poorly. My donor was so pleased to hear from me and to know that the transplant was a success. We kept in touch over the 2 year period by letter and when then with the help of Anthony Nolan and mutual agreement we exchanged personal details and I was able to send an email to my donor by name and say a personal thank you.

    Last October some 2 and a half years post transplant I met my donor in person, it was a great occasion for my wife and I to be able to say thanks in person. My donor was a young man whom we discovered lived about 60 miles away. It was also an opportunity to learn about his experience of the donor process.

    There is an article about the meeting in the 'Latest news' section dated 7th January 2015 on the Anthony Nolan web site, entitled 'Grandfather meets stranger who saved his life'.There is also information on the site about making contact with your donor which will give you all the information you need. You can also contact the Paient and Families team who will help you.

    Do get in touch I'm sure your donor will be delighted to hear from you.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Regards, Peter
  • Hi Petervee thank you very much.
    I hope you are doing well and I will certainly look at your article
  • Peter, that's a fantastic story. I bet your donor was just as thrilled to meet you as you were to meet them!

  • Hi Sam

    Thanks for the above comment, yes my donor was really pleased to meet up. It meant so much to him and indeed all his family who we so pleased to meet. You know he thanked me and still does for giving him the opportunity to do something so incredible. Even now he says he will always be there for me if I ever needed any more treatment, how wonderful is that.
    He is a very special young man as are all our donors.

    Hope your dad is continuing to make good progress.

    Good luck to you for the Anthony Nolan fund raising event that you are planning.

  • Hi Krissy,

    I wrote to my donor about 6 months after my transplant, by which time I felt my recovery had made good progress. I felt it was important to let them know I was well and to thank them for what they'd done, though thank you doesn't seem adequate at all.

    Unlike Peter I didn't hear back from my donor, which may happen in some cases. I guess its enough for some donors to know that the transplant has been a success and to leave it at that.

    It's important to consider the donor and if they don't reply don't feel dejected in any way. They've done a fantastic thing and for some donors a thank you from or on behalf of the patient may well be enough. I am happy in my own mind that I've said my thank you and can accept that my donor might not want anything more than that.

    I hope your son is doing well. He's probably around the 100 day mark is he? Its a worthwhile milestone to celebrate, though there is still probably a way to go in his recovery.


  • Hi Steve,

    Many thanks for your reply. I wasnt sure how long to leave it to say thank you, as you say it doesnt seem adequate! I will get a card to send his donor but its difficult knowing what to put in it too I think, still I will come up with something. It is a wonderful thing these donors are doing as Daniel wouldnt be here now if it wasnt for this kind person.

    My son is doing well it was his 100th day on new years day. He has got a long way to go and is slowly putting weight back on but the hospital are very pleased with him. He has had a few problems since having it done but hopefully is over the worst.

    I hope you continue to stay well x


  • Hi Krissy,

    Thanks for your good wishes. It was the third anniversary of my transplant on Sunday and the Anthony Nolan Patients and Families team kindly featured me on their Facebook page last week as the milestone for January. I'm glad your son is doing well and it's great that he is regaining weight, which was a big battle for me (unfortunately I've now gone over the top and am trying to lose it again!)

    It's hard to know what to write to the donor as thank you seems totally inadequate. But for me it was important to at least say something and to let them know I was doing well. One way we can encourage more people to join the register is by recognizing those who give us that special gift. Even if it's done privately and anonymously to the donor and they tell one person who is then encouraged to join the register themselves it's had a benefit in my eyes.

    Good luck with your sons continued recovery and please keep us up to date.

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