Carrying the Torch Of Life in Nicholas’s memory to Vatican City
to increase organ & tissue donations throughout the world
The Nicholas Effect
The Torch Of Life
Commemorating Nicholas’s story by
Celebrating the 10 year anniversary since Pope John Paul 2 blessed the Torch of Life
The Nicholas Effect
In 1994, while the Green Family was vacationing in Calabria Italy, their 7 year old son Nicholas was shot & killed
by assailants in an attempted robbery.
During this tragic time Reg and Maggie Green made a courageous & unselfish decision to donate Nicholas’s organ & tissues to
seven Italians, including 4 teenagers.
This act of compassion changed the way Italy & the world looked at organ & tissue donations, back then & up to this day.
When asked “What would you say to the men who shot your child” Maggie Green replied,
“When they see what they have done, I hope they turn away from this kind of life”
An entire nation & the world witnessed “a lesson in civility” as famed Italian TV host Maurizio Costanzo put it.
Since then the Greens have conducted a worldwide campaign through the Nicholas Green Foundation to draw attention to the tens
of thousands of deaths caused every year by the shortage of donated organs.
Step By Step & Torch Of Life
Meanwhile, in Toronto Canada in 1995, with just hours left in his life, fitness promoter George Marcello received a liver transplant.
He wanted to say thank you in the most passionate way, to his anonymous donor and writing a letter was not enough.
As he puts it, “I can’t sing or dance, so why not walk?” and walk he did.
Shortly after his transplant he created a charity & called it Step By Step.
He dropped everything & started a 4 year 15,000 km walk across Canada, carrying a Torch which he called the Torch Of Life.
This was also anonymously given to him.
During George’s journey, Pope John Paul received the Torch Of Life at Vatican City on September 5 2001.
The Pope encouraged George to let the youngsters carry the Torch, and George complied.
In the last 10 years thousands of kids have carried & relayed the Torch from Alaska to Washington DC,
throughout a thousand cities, including a 13 year old boy,
Kristopher Knowles who carried it across Canada while in need of a liver transplant.
On September 5 2011 the Torch will be brought back to Vatican City
to mark the 10 year anniversary since Pope John Paul 2 blessed it.
George did not know his donor family, but knows the Green family. He also knows that his Italian hometown of Pizzo, Calabria
is very close to where Nicholas was shot. The Nicholas Effect has had an overwhelming effect on George
It is Step By Step’s honour to announce that Reg Green will join George in Vatican City,
and the Torch will be carried by kids across Rome to commemorate Nicholas’s story.
An announcement will be made, about the plans for a 4 Year Student Torch Of Life Relay around the world to continue spreading
the message that a simple decision can save multiple lives
The Nicholas Effect
Nicholas’s story affected millions of Italians many more worldwide.
In 1994, while vacationing in Italy 7 year old boy Nicholas was killed in an attempted robbery.
During this very tragic time Reg and Maggie Green, courageously & unselfishly,
donated Nicholas organs & tissues to seven Italians, four of them teenagers.
Since then the Greens have conducted a worldwide campaign to draw attention
to the tens of thousands of deaths caused every year by the shortage of donated organs.
Virtually every major newspaper and television station in the world
carried the initial story and subsequent developments.
In Italy alone donation rates have more than quadrupled, an increase no other country has come close to.
Literally thousands of people are alive who would have died.
In Bodega Bay, the village where they lived in California, the Greens built a bell tower as a memorial to all children,
with 140 bells sent mostly by families and schools all over Italy.
The central bell, with the names of Nicholas and the seven recipients on it,
was made at the Marinelli foundry, which has been making bells for the papacy for a thousand years
and Pope John Paul II went to the foundry to bless it.
Mr. Green calls the bell tower “a little piece of Italy’s soul on the Pacific Ocean.”
People come from all over the world to both the grave and the bell tower.
Nicholas' seven recipients are like many others who need a transplant –
a mother who had never seen her baby's face clearly;
a diabetic who had been repeatedly in comas;
a boy of 15, wasting away with a heart disease, who was only the same size as a seven year old;
a keen sportsman whose vision was gradually darkening;
and two children ‘hooked up to dialysis machines four hours a day, three days a week’.
Then there was Maria Pia, a vivacious 19-year old girl who the night Nicholas was shot was dying too.
Now, against all odds, she's healthy, is married and has two children, one of whom is called Nicholas .
The Greens with their 3 children and seven recipients.
These seven people are not rich or famous and their lives are marked by the struggles
we all have to face. But they feel they have been reborn.
Few potential donors realize what a mighty gift they have in their hands.
By one action they can save other families from the devastation they themselves face.
With such momentous consequences, donor families often wonder how there could be any other choice.
None of this takes away the pain. The sense that life is missing a vital ingredient is there all the time
But donating does put something on the other side of the balance.
For the rest of their lives donor families can feel proud that their loved ones saved someone in desperate need
when no one else in the world could.