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A Children's Race to Honor Nicholas Green


[click to enlarge]















Story by Bob Merion
Audio by Bob Merion and Matthew Quirk
Photography by Bob Garypie and Peter Ottlakan

Many thanks to Kids Kidney Care and the Swiss Transplant Foundation!

The sun shone brilliantly and white snow sparkled against a cloudless blue sky as race officials checked the starting gate and participants assembled in a staging area for the first-ever Nicholas Cup downhill slalom competition at the 4th Winter World Transplant Games.

Named in memory of Nicholas Green, a 7 year old boy killed in 1994 by Italian carjackers while on a family vacation, the Nicholas Cup commemorates the unselfish gifts of 5 organs and both corneas donated by his family. The participants in this event are all children who have received organ transplants. The Nicholas Cup is designed to call attention to the desperate shortage of donated organs, especially for children in need of transplantation.

"The Nicholas Cup is the most satisfying sporting event I've ever attended." - Reg Green

Reg Green, the boy's father, was on hand as the skiers lined up here at the Tracouet slopes in the Swiss Alps above Nendaz. He stood just behind the starting gate beaming with excitement and pride as one skier after another pushed through the starting gate and descended the slopes, negotiating the turns around the slalom flags and heading for the finish line down below.

Dressed in brightly colored ski jackets, the participants looked every bit the part of serious competitors. The youngest recipients went down the slopes with a parent astride them and elicited loud cheers, clanking cow bells, and admiring looks from the observers.

After the last skier had crossed the finish line, the group headed back up the ski lift for a presentation ceremony at the top of the mountain. The Nicholas Cup (shown left, held by the daughter of organizer Liz Schick) was awarded to Stoppa Guilia, a transplant recipient from Slovenia.

Reg Green, clearly filled with emotion, commented that the experience had been "the most satisfying sporting event I've ever attended."