Nicholas Green

"The Nicholas Effect"

When Maggie and I said we would donate the organs of our 7-year-old son, Nicholas, who had been shot by car bandits in Italy, we could not have begun to imagine the ramifications. His death and that decision seems to have lit a spark in the hearts of millions of people.

Hundreds of letters have been sent to us, many saying it has changed their attitudes about organ donation. Television specials, feature articles in magazines and call-in radio programs around the world have resurrected interest in the subject. In Italy, where the number of people willing to become donors has gone up three or four hundred percent, it is being called "The Nicholas Effect."

For us the effect has been uplifting. We have seen photos and read stories about the seven people, mostly children, who got Nicholas' organs. One girl was two days from death. The 15-year-old boy who got the heart weighed only 60 pounds and seemed fated to waste away. An 8-year-old, going for his operation, was asked to think of something nice. He said, "I'm thinking of Nicholas."

None of this really touches the ache caused by Nicholas' death. I don't suppose either Maggie or I will ever be really happy again. But it is some recompense for what would otherwise have simply been a senseless waste.

by Reg Green