Families of Organ and Tissue Donors Reach Out Over the Internet

New York, NY
March 1 , 1999

Connecting donor families from all over the U.S. in a nationwide support group, the National Kidney Foundation's National Donor Family Council is launching a series of monthly internet chats. The chat series, designed to provide both information and support for families and the professionals who care for them, is a partnership project with the Division of Transplantation Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The first chat of the series will be held April 20, 1999, and will cover new initiatives in transplantation. Topics for the subsequent chats, planned through April 2000, range from communication between donor families and recipients and cultural differences in coping with death to dealing with the sudden violent death of a loved one and helping children grieve. Chat facilitators include bereavement and transplant professionals, transplant surgeons, transplant recipients and members of donor families. Information pertaining to chat locations and topics will be posted on NKF's website, www.kidney.org, two weeks prior to each chat.

Says Vicki Crosier, a donor mother and chairman of NKF's National Donor Family Council, "The premise of these internet chats is the same as small group sharing — share the pain and you lessen the load. We hope to use this new technology to connect people, especially those in rural areas where there are no support groups, with others who have lived through similar experiences."

The National Kidney Foundation's 4,500-member National Donor Family Council (NDFC) is dedicated to enhancing the sensitivity and effectiveness of the organ and tissue procurement process; providing opportunities for families to grieve and grow; and utilizing the unique perspective and experience of these families to increase organ and tissue donation.

For information on NDFC programs such as the Donor Family Quilt, "For Those Who Give and Grieve" newsletter, educational brochures, free membership or the National Donor Recognition Ceremony, call (800) 622-9010.