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FAQ Page


What is a donor family?

A donor family includes any person or group of people who are in some way connected to the donor and have chosen to say "Yes" to organ and tissue donation. Regardless of the donation outcome, the donor family has chosen to donate life at a very sensitive and often devastating time.
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What is "normal grieving" and how do I know if I need help?

Everyone grieves in their own, unique way. It is not uncommon for one to experience a wide variety of physical and emotional reactions to loss. It is important to allow yourself to move through your grief at a pace that is appropriate for you. Grief is only considered abnormal when it is accompanied by thoughts of self-harm, harm to others, or if it begins to cause a severe lack of functioning in one's life. If you feel that your grief is debilitating, please let us support you by contacting us by telephone: (800) 423-7220 or by email: familycare@onelegacy.org.
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What type of grief support services does OneLegacy provide?

OneLegacy Aftercare offers grief literature, individual and group support, telephone support, access to a Facebook group exclusively for donor families, follow-up letters, community support referrals, donor family gatherings, and events to help you continue to honor your loved one. Please call (800) 423-7220 or email us at familycare@onelegacy.org for more information.
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How long does grief last? How long will I feel like this?

It is widely believed that there is no time frame to adhere to when one is grieving. Additionally, everyone experiences grief in a unique, individual manner. While there may be no specific way to measure one's healing progress, it is important to keep in mind that your grief journey will take time and to give yourself permission to grieve at your own time and pace.
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How do I cope with holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions?

Coping with the loss of a loved one at special times of the year can be particularly difficult. Ignoring the occasion will likely delay the emotions surrounding that time of year for another time. You may wish to keep some traditions that you practiced with your loved one, alter other traditions, and let go of the ones that no longer serve you or your loved ones. It is important to communicate with family and loved ones about your wishes and expectations.
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How do I continue to honor my loved one?

Finding a way to integrate the death of your loved one into your life can help many in the grieving process move toward a healthy healing journey. OneLegacy hosts events throughout the year for families to honor and remember their loved ones. In addition to our monthly grief support groups, we host Donor Remembrance Ceremonies in March, participate in the Donate Life Run/Walk in April, host a Day of the Dead Craft Day in October, a Surviving the Holidays Workshop in December and offer donor family decorating shifts at the end of December for the Donate Life Rose Parade Float.
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Should my child attend the funeral/memorial service?

"Too often, kids feel like the 'forgotten mourners.' They are seen but not heard or spoken to at a funeral. Often what they get is a pat on the head, or hugs from adults they don't even know. Many adults still wonder if it's a good idea to include children at the funeral at all. While every family has its own traditions and beliefs, and these will play a strong role in funeral and memorial service planning and decisions, parents may not be aware that one of the most helpful things they can do for their children at this time is give them choices. And they don't like to be left out of anything, even a funeral. It is a meaningful and important experience for children to have the opportunity to say goodbye to the person who died in a way that feels right to them. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it helps bring a sense of finality to the death that is helpful in the healing process." - Provided by Dougy Center.
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How can I make a monetary donation in honor of my loved one?

If you are interested in memorial contributions to the OneLegacy Foundation in memory of your loved one, contribution envelopes will be made available to you. All contributions will be graciously acknowledged. You may also complete the attached form and email, fax, or mail it to OneLegacy at 221 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90021. You can learn more about the OneLegacy Foundation here.
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How can I volunteer and inspire others to donate?

Donate Life Ambassadors, our organization's official volunteer program, offers donor family members, transplant recipients and others who have been touched by donation or transplantation an opportunity to share their experiences and inspire our community to donate life.
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How do I create an online tribute to my loved one?

Please visit the Donate Life Memorial page and follow the instructions provided: http://donatelifememorial.blogspot.com/
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How do I contact my loved one's recipients?

OneLegacy receives cards and letters from transplant recipients thanking their donor families for the precious gift of life. We assist in all correspondence between the donor families and recipients, and we maintain anonymity with all correspondence until both donor families and recipients consent to direct contact. Some recipients choose to initiate contact with donor families by writing a letter or sending a card expressing their gratitude, while some donor families choose to initiate contact by constructing a letter addressed to all recipients.
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How do I obtain an update on my loved one's donation?

Many donor families ask whether they can have contact with their loved one's recipients. Some wonder how their loved one's organ recipients are doing months and years after the transplant or wish they knew how many people were helped with their loved one's tissue, such as bone and skin. If your loved one donated tissue, such as corneas, heart valves, veins, skin and/or bone, we can request a tissue update if it has been over a year since your loved one's donation. If your loved one donated organs, such as kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs or heart, we can request a medical update on the recipient and provide information on the letter writing process, should you wish to initiate contact.
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What medical expenses does OneLegacy cover?

OneLegacy covers all hospital expenses that pertain to the donation process following consent. This excludes costs incurred by the coroner or medical examiner and funeral expenses.
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Can OneLegacy help with funeral expenses?

OneLegacy is legally unable to assist donor families with the cost of funerals and memorials.
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Why did OneLegacy contact me so quickly after my loved one's death?

Because tissues must be recovered within a few hours after death, you may have received a phone call shortly following your loved one's death. OneLegacy maintains sensitivity and is dedicated to honoring the donor family's dignity throughout this sensitive process.
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What is the difference between organs and tissue?

A tissue is a group of cells that work together for the same purpose. An organ is a group of tissues that work together for the same purpose. Examples of organs include the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and lungs. Example of tissue includes bone, corneas, veins, heart valves, and ligaments.
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How will my loved one's tissue be used?

One tissue donor can save or bring health and healing to more than fifty lives. The gift of cornea donation will help up to two people restore the precious gift of sight. Whole heart donation for heart valves will aid in healing heart malformations. The gift of bone donation can help prevent amputation or paralysis for someone affected by bone disease. Skin donation can improve the quality of life for those needing reconstructive surgeries (such as mastectomy patients and injured military personnel). Ligaments and tendons can help someone to restore lost mobility. And the gift of vein tissue can be used in heart bypass surgery.
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Why were some of the organs/tissue that I consented to not used for transplant?

For organ donation, even with all the tests performed prior to the surgical recovery of the organs, the visualization and biopsy of organs during surgery are the final determinations as to whether the organs would be suitable for transplantation. Sometimes transplant surgeons from a number of transplant centers determined that organ function was compromised to the point that transplantation is not an option. For tissue donation, sometimes as we review all of the available information and tests results become available, OneLegacy and/or tissue banks make an assessment that the tissues may not be able to be used for transplantation purposes. The natural aging process, dietary habits, medical history, and the circumstances surrounding the disease or injury all play a part in these determinations.
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What is brain death and has anyone ever recovered from it?

Brain death is irreversible damage to the brain caused by trauma, which results in a cessation of independent respiration. Brain death is a medically, legally and morally accepted determination of death, and two independent, licensed physicians must make the diagnosis before the organ donation process can occur. It is medically impossible for an individual to "wake up" or recover from brain death.
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What is donation after circulatory death?

"Donation after circulatory death is an option for families of patients who have a neurological injury and/or irreversible brain damage but do not meet the complete criteria for brain death. After a physician has determined that a patient has no chance for recovery and the family has decided to withdraw life support, the family is offered the option of donation after circulatory (or cardiac) death." - Provided by Life Quest.
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24-Hour Organ/Tissue Donor Referral Line - (800) 338 6112