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Saving one life when another ends

Molly Shore

When a gunshot wound took the life of 7-year-old Nicholas Green

during a 1994 family vacation in Italy, his death captured

international headlines after his parents requested his organs and


corneas be donated to ill people in Italy.

“Seven people close to death were given the gift of life,” said

the boy’s father, Reg Green.

That act spurred a worldwide awareness of the shortage of donors,


a phenomenon known as “The Nicholas Effect.”

Green was the keynote speaker at a luncheon Sunday at The Castaway

honoring donor families and recipients. The event was hosted by

OneLegacy, a Southern California organ-transplant network.

Addressing a room filled with 550 people, Green told them that

during his family’s return visit to Italy, they meet all the donor


“The door opened and they and their families came in -- some shy,


some smiling, some tearful, some exuberant,” Green said. “I looked at

this mass of humanity and wondered: Did one little body do all this?

And, yes it did.”

Green said the decision he and his wife made changed lives in ways

he could never have imagined.

“In that one moment I saw, as never before, the stunning power of

transplantation,” Green said.

In April 1995, Vicki Carey’s one-month-old son Tyler Jonathan, who


was secure in his car seat as his mother drove, was killed in a car


When Tyler died, two baby boys at Children’s Hospital benefited

from his lungs and heart.

“If I hadn’t donated, there would be three mothers who lost their

children,” Carey said.

Today, the boys who received Tyler’s organs are happy, healthy

8-year-olds, Carey said.