Italian with heart of Nicholas Green dies

Andrea Mongiardo (left) and Nicholas Green

 ROME -- Andrea Mongiardo, 22 years following the transplant of American seven-year-old Nicholas Green’s heart in 1994, has died aged 37 of lymphoma.


 Roman-born Mongiardo was just 15 when he underwent a heart transplant, receiving seven-year-old Nicholas Green’s life-saving organ. The operation was carried out through the Paediatric Hospital Bambino Gesù in the Italian capital.


 On Sept. 29, 1994, Nicholas Green was on holiday in Italy with his family. In a car with his parents on the motorway between Salerno and Reggio Calabria, Nicholas was shot in the head and killed in an attempted car robbery. Both parents survived.


 The parents, Reginald and Maggie Green, decided to donate their son’s organs, a decision which in Italy was still considered very infrequent and unusual. The liver, pancreas, kidneys and cornea were all donated to four teenagers and one adult.


 The story inspired the film ‘Nicholas’ Gift,’ starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Alan Bates.


 After demonstrating to Italy the importance of organ donation, the number of Italians willing to donate grew from 6.2 per 1,000 citizens to 23.1.


 Andrea Mongiardo, who weighed only 27 kilos when Nicholas’ heart arrived to him, was born with a congenital malformation and had to immediately undergo three operations. However, the only thing that could save him was a new heart.