A seven-year-old boy’s heart has finally stopped beating 22 years after he was shot dead.
Nicholas Green, from the US, was killed during a holiday in southern Italy in 1994 when attackers mistook his family’s rental car for one involved in a jewellery heist.
His brave parents opted to donate their son’s organs and his heart, corneas, kidneys, liver and pancreas were given to seven people in desperate need – changing their lives forever.
But now Nicolas’s heart has finally stopped beating, as the 15-year-old boy he gifted it to, Andrea Mongiardo, has died of Lymphoma age 37, the BBC reports.
The Green’s incredible gesture, as well as national horror at the random murder of a child, led to Italy’s organ donation rate tripling in a decade – a result hailed as “The Nicholas Effect”.
Nicholas, his sister, Eleanor, and their parents, Margaret and Reginald, were having a holiday in Calabria, in Italy, when tragedy struck.
On the night of September 29, 1994, Nicolas’s parents were driving between Salerno and Reggio Calabria, when two men started following their car, believing they were jewellers.
The men pulled up alongside the Greens’ vehicle and shouted something in Italian, which the Greens did not understand.
In a panic, Reginald accelerated and the men fired shots into the rear of the vehicle.
It was only when Reginald stopped the car that he and Margaret realised Nicholas had been shot in the head.
The seven-year-old died at a specialist head injuries unit the next day after slipping into a coma.
“I think it was Maggie who said: ‘Now he’s gone, shouldn’t we donate the organs?’,” Mr Green, who worked as a journalist on Fleet Street for many years before moving to the US, told the Telegraph.
“Until that moment, I saw only bleakness. How was I going to get through the rest of my life without him?”
He said he saw organ donation as a way to “alleviate the horror” of their son’s death.
Four of the recipients of his organs were teenagers and two others the parents of young children.
Two of the teenagers, Tino Motta and Anna Maria Di Ceglie, had lived on dialysis machines for years and did not know if they would make it to adulthood. Nicholas’s kidneys saved their lives.
Silvia Ciampi, a diabetic who had suffered many comas, was going blind and couldn’t walk on her own. Nicholas’s pancreas massively prolonged her life.
Maria Pia, 19, had liver failure and was in her final coma. Her mother and brother had died of liver disease and her family expected the worst. When she recovered, she had a baby boy who she named Nicholas.
Francesco Mondello and Domenica Galleta were given the gift of sight.
Despite always feeling a “sadness” that would never go away, Mr Green said he felt grateful that the seven organs his son donated had left a lasting legacy.