Our Services

Donor Thanks

The following letters were written by children who received heart transplants at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. They are letters of gratitude written to the families whose children made their transplants possible.

March 26, 2001

To My Donor’s Family,

I would like to tell you about my family and myself. My name is Samantha and I am nine years old. I live in Pennsylvania. I have a mom and dad that love me very much. I also have a dog named CoCo.

My favorite food is spaghetti and I dislike broccoli. My favorite color is purple. I am in third grade and go to a private school. My teacher’s name is Sister Lisa. I love my school; my favorite subject is reading, my worst is math.

When I was born I had a sick heart and received a life saving heart transplant at three days old. I have grown to feel very special for the gift that was given to me. I have known my doctors and nurses all my life and they have watched me grow up.

When I turned four I started gymnastics and dance. Over the years I really grew to love them and they were a big part of my life. When I was about 7-1/2 my doctors told me I had to quit them because my heart was getting sick from chronic rejection and that I would eventually need another heart transplant. I was very sad but knew I could not do these things anymore.

This year when I started school I started having a really hard time climbing steps and just did not feel good all the time. I was scared about needing another transplant and was nervous when the phone rang. In November, I started showing signs of heart failure. My doctors told me it was very critical that I be transplanted as soon as a donor became available.

The evening I got the call for my new heart my family and I cried. We were all scared but we also cried for you and your loss. My doctors told me they weren’t aloud to give much information but we did know that my donor heart was from a 5 year old boy.

Before my surgery, my doctors told me that I would be in the hospital for Christmas, that didn’t bother me. I knew that I had just been given the best Christmas present, a new chance at life and that’s all I wanted was to be healthy again. They say my transplant surgery went well.

On Monday I woke up and asked if the surgery was over yet. My new heart I could feel was beating strongly inside me. That evening I sat on the edge of the bed. The next day I walked around in the ICU. I was released from the hospital on January 2nd.

All of my doctors and nurses were wonderful to me and I love them so much. They really try to help me when I don’t feel good. I am on a lot of medicines but my doctors decrease them a little at a time. I know all of my medicine names and take them knowing that without them my new heart would get sick. I have to be tutored at home. Sister Lisa comes twice a week until I’m allowed back to school. She has helped me so much and has been patient with me and puts no pressure on me. I have been taking CoCo for walks on the nice days we’ve been having. The sunshine and fresh air I breathe make me feel good.

I think of you and my donor every day. I have been afraid to write to you because it makes me sad and I don’t want to make you sad. I always carry a smile on my face and it is a smile of love and joy for the very special gift you have given me. I will take very good care of my new heart.

We thank you for your decision on organ donation at the saddest time in your life. We are also very sorry for your loss. May it give you a sense of peace that I feel very special for the gift you have given me and that my heart is filled with so much love for you and your little one. We pray and thank God for you and your little one and the many blessings you have given us. I believe he is one of my guardian angels.

Samantha & Mom & Dad



Thank you very much for my heart. I was too young to remember it but I want you to know how thankful I am.

I am eleven years old now and in 5th grade. I have brown hair and blue eyes. I like basketball and soccer. I also like Nintendo 64. I want to learn how to snowboard. I have a dog named Shelby. I am going to New York City for Make-A-Wish this Christmas.

My Mom said I am the bravest person she knows. But I think maybe you are.

Last Update
August 8, 2012
  • Increase/Decrease Text Size
  • Print This Page
Last Update
August 8, 2012