The Nicholas Green Foundation
A young boy from California, Nicholas Green, was killed by highway robbers while vacationing in Italy with his family. His parents agreed to donate his organs, which went to seven Italians waiting for transplants. Reg and Maggie Green spoke openly to the media, with no bitterness, about their loss and decision. The world took the story--and the Greens--to its heart. In the first few days after his death, the number of people signing organ donor cards in Italy quadrupled. Donations there last year were more than double the rate they were in the year before he died. The world's response to the Green's personal tragedy is called "the Nicholas effect." No matter their nationality or calling, people respond from the heart--presidents, movie stars, schoolchildren, grandmothers, Boy scouts, soccer players, surgeons, and organ recipients. Organ donor cards are signed. Poems are written, pictures painted, parks dedicated, scholarships established, medals given, children hugged.
a message from reg:
Our seven recipients are like many others who need a transplant - a mother who had never seen her baby's face clearly; a diabetic who had been repeatedly in comas; a boy of 15, wasting away with a heart disease, who was only the same size as a seven year old; a keen sportsman whose vision was gradually darkening; and two children hooked up to dialysis machines several hours a week. Then there was Maria Pia, a vivacious 19-year old girl who the night Nicholas was shot was dying too. Now, against all odds, she's in bursting health, is married and in 1998 had a baby whose name is Nicholas.
The Greens and the seven
These seven people are not rich or famous and their lives are marked by the struggles we all have to face. But they feel they have been reborn. Few potential donors realize, I think, what a mighty gift they have in their hands. By one action they can save other families from the devastation they themselves face. Sometimes I wonder how there can be any other choice. Donor families who make the same decision we did, in lonely hospital rooms all over the world, know that none of this takes away the pain. I read recently that Einstein said that once he had evolved his theory of relativity, it never left him even for a minute. That's how I, and I daresay others who have lost someone very close, feel. The sense that life is missing a vital ingredient is there all the time. But donating does put something on the other side of the balance. Sometimes at meetings Maggie and I go to, someone will come up at the end and say: "I wish I'd done that." They feel they have lost everything and got nothing back and they sense that we did get something back. And they're right. For the rest of our lives we donor families can feel proud that our loved ones saved someone when no one else in the world could. Reg Green
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