"The Boy Who Saved Thousands of Lives"
(By Reg Green)

6-22-2006 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #396

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S.O.W. Archive Updates

Our Friend Ree sent us in some new Updates for the “Archives” this past week! I've been very busy of late so I'm only able to get to 2 of them today… I'll update a few a week until I can get to them all. These two were archived as “Author Unknown” and Ree found out the Authors for us.

S.O.W. #89 – “Love is Stronger… was written by: John Wayne Schlatter
S.O.W. #228 – “The Evil Brothers” was written by: Charles Swindoll

More next week…

Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by:

Story of the Week
“The Boy Who Saved Thousands of Lives”
(By Reg Green)

It was a day like any other in a busy hospital. Among dozens of incidents of joy and fear, a small boy was brought in, dying from a road accident.

When the end came, one of the nurses took a deep breath and did what her job required her to do: She asked the boy's parents if they would donate his organs. Their reply was sharp and clear, an emphatic refusal, pain mixed with anger at having been asked such a crass question at the worst moment of their lives.

"I understood how they felt," the nurse told me later. "The bottom had fallen out of their world." But all she could think of was that on the third floor of that same hospital, another little boy, of much the same age and with a mother and father very much like these, was also dying that night - because the heart that could have saved him didn't arrive.

I often think of that little boy and how close he came to making it. I also know how his parents felt: my own seven-year-old son, Nicholas, was shot by highway robbers six years ago while we were on vacation in southern Italy.

When the doctors told us there was no hope, I still remember vividly wondering how I would ever get through all the years ahead without him. But Maggie, my wife, and I, did donate his organs to seven very sick Italians, some of whom would certainly be dead by now, and we have never for a moment regretted the decision. After living in the shadow of death, some of them for years, all seven are back in the mainstream.

What we thought was a purely private act took Italy by storm! The president and prime minister both asked to meet us privately, and letters poured in by the hundreds. We've been given honors in Nicholas' name that previously went to some of the world's greatest humanitarians and scholars.

Today's front-page story, however, is often almost forgotten tomorrow, as some new tragedy comes along to take its place. Unless we do something to etch this story in the people's minds, I thought at the time, it will have no permanent effect on their actions, and thousands will continue to die every year because organ donation rates fall short of need in virtually every country in the world.

And so, having been a daily newspaper writer much of my life, I did what comes naturally: I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. At first for the obvious places: medical journals, parents' magazines, newspaper features, then for the less obvious: the scouting magazine, Italian newspapers, newsletters, then further afield still: a Dutch magazine, a travel magazine, the weekly paper of the town where I was born in England.

I faxed, e-mailed and telephoned editors, feature writers and syndicated columnists. I got up at 2:00 A.M. to talk to European editors or stayed up until midnight to call Australia. Maggie and I crisscrossed this country talking to audiences of every imaginable kind, and everywhere I went, I called on the local newspaper and television stations.

There were many rebuffs, but there were many achievements, too. Better yet, writers all over the world picked up the story from our words and wrote memorable pieces of their own. To think of just one: virtually every overseas edition of Reader's Digest led off with Nicholas' story, and we have a collection of clippings in Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish and twenty other languages.

A television movie, Nicholas' Gift, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, picked up many of the sentences I had written. And recently I wrote a book The Nicholas Effect, which, though much of it was written through a veil of tears, shows how his example has saved literally thousands of lives.

Nicholas was a remarkable little boy - gentle, imaginative and, yes, wise - and we all expected him to do great things. When he died, all those expectations seemed to have died with him. But in the end, as the words written and spoken about him found their way to the four corners of the world, he did more than we could possibly have foreseen.

More even than saving lives, his brief innocent life sent an electric charge through the human spirit, reminding us all of the preciousness of life and hence the importance of living up, rather than down, to it.

In his last few days, we played a game with Nicholas in which he was a Roman soldier about to return home. "When you get there," we told him, "they'll write poems to you, your name will be cheered by people you've never met."

It was only a game, but it all came true with this difference, however: that Nicholas conquered not by the force of arms but by the power of love. And that, of course, is much stronger.

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        Help us each to recognize the power and Value in every moment of our lives. After all… we are Your Kids… why should we not expect as much?

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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