In September, 1994, a terrible tragedy occurred - seven-year-old Nicholas Green, son of Reg and Maggie Green, was shot dead as a result of a ridiculous criminal error, says Air force.
The Green family rested in the south of Italy when the irreparable happened. Nicholas's father tells the story of the death of his son:
“I sensed danger when a dark-colored car pulled up behind us and followed us for a while. Soon the car started to overtake, and I relaxed, thinking that in fact nothing terrible had happened, ”- recalls Reg Green that night when his son for some unknown reason was shot by complete strangers.
However, instead of completing the overtaking, the car caught up with them. Reg and Maggie heard loud swearing. They decided that the people in the car wanted them to stop.
“I thought that if we stop, we will be completely in their power. So I hit the gas. They too. The night race began. Then a bullet broke the rear window. Maggie turned around, but the kids seemed to be fast asleep. ”
What actually happened became clear later. Elenor did sleep peacefully, but Nicholas was hit right in the head. After a few seconds, the attackers shot at the driver's window, then left.
“I stopped the car and got out. A light came on inside, but Nicholas did not move. I looked closely and saw that his tongue was sticking out of his mouth a little, and there were marks on his chin - you can see that he was sick, ”recalls Green.
Reg Green wrote about the events of that night and what happened after it, The Nicholas Effect, which became the basis for the 1998 film The Gift of Nicholas.
“Only then did we realize that something terrible had happened. The shock I experienced was the scariest moment in my life. "
Family vacations turned into a nightmare. Nicholas fell into a coma and died a few days later in the hospital, without regaining consciousness. Shortly before that, when it became clear that Nicholas would not survive, the parents made a decision that radically changed the lives of several families throughout Italy. Reg and Maggie agreed to transplant the organs of their son to patients in need.
“At that moment they were abstract people for us. We had no idea who they were. It's like giving money to charity without knowing what exactly it will go to. Four months later, we were invited to Sicily, to a meeting, because the four people who received donor organs lived there, ”says Green.
This decision of Nicholas's parents produced a stunning effect, and the number of donors over the next 10 years increased 3 times, and later this phenomenon was called the “Nicholas effect”.
Nicholas's organs got 8 people, two of whom have already passed away:
Andrea Montiardo: heart, passed away in 2017;
Francesco Mondello: cornea;
Tino Motta: Kidney;
Anna Maria di Ceglie: kidney;
Maria Pia Pedala: liver;
Domenica Gallet: cornea;
Sylvia Chiampi: Pancreas, presumably died a few years ago.
“In Italy, children are rarely killed, so the police were very careful looking for Nicholas's killers,” says Green.
And the killers of a seven-year-old boy were found; Francesco Mesiano and Michele Iannelo were there. It was not possible to figure out the reason for the attack on the Green machine. There are also suggestions that one of the attackers is closely associated with the mafia, because his lawyer in court was one of the best lawyers in Italy.
“The murder of a seven-year-old American boy in a country where death by the hand of a criminal is not uncommon, made Italians think deeply,” she wrote Times.
Reg Green says that many Italians were ashamed of the fact that an absolutely innocent boy from another country died after arriving. This thought also influenced the fact that the Italians began to donate organs to the needy.
“We showed them how much good can be done by making one big decision. And it had an effect that was impossible to predict. The country, which was in one of the last places in Europe for organ donation, climbed almost to the top of the list in a short time. Probably, in no other country it happened so quickly ”.
In the 1993 year, a year before the death of Nicholas, permission to remove organs was given to all 6 people per million, and in 2006, this figure increased to 20 people per million.
In addition to a breakthrough in the field of organ donation, the Italians decided to perpetuate the name of the deceased boy in 120 cases. 50 Squares and Streets, 27 parks and gardens, 27 schools and 16 monuments, a bridge, an amphitheater and even a lemon tree are named after Nicholas Green.
Reg Green talks about how he met people who had Nicholas's organs transplanted:
“When the doors opened and the six entered, the effect was overwhelming,” he recalls. (In fact, seven were transplanted organs, but one person was unable to come due to illness.) “Some of them were smiling, some were in tears, some were shy, but most importantly, they were all alive,” says Reg. “Only then did I first realize how important this is.”
A few years after the death of Nicholas, Reg and Maggie decided to have more children, so that Elenor did not grow up alone, and they had twins - Laura and Martin, who will be 21 in May.
“Of course, a sadness has settled in my heart, which was not there before,” Green admits, “and I will never be completely happy again. After all, even when I feel very good, I think: it would be better if Nicholas was with us. I believe that every time Nicholas' story is heard on the radio, appears in the newspaper or on TV, one of the listeners will definitely make the right decision. After all, if they have never heard or thought about donation, they would rather say “no”.
Twice a year Reg Green travels to Italy to tell people about the benefits of blood donation. During his recent visit, he met Maria Piu Pedalu, who was in a coma on the day Nicholas died. Her liver refused. However, soon after the transplantation of Nicholas's liver, she recovered and began to recover.
Two years after that, she married, and two years later she gave birth to a boy, whom she called Nicholas.
But before 1994, the transplantation of donor organs in Sicily was almost unheard of.
Green says that even Andrea Mongiardo, who died this year, lived with a donor heart three times longer than his first master.
However, Reg Green believes that the legacy of his son extends much further than the seven people who received his organs.
Since organ donation in Italy has increased dramatically after the death of Nicholas, today there are thousands of people living in the country who would otherwise be inevitable death.