Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Nicholas Effect


October 1, 1994 was a very tragic day for the Green family.
While holidaying in Southern Italy, their seven year old son Nicholas was killed by highway robbers in a gunfire! What followed was one of the most compassionate act that humankind possibly ever witnessed, when the Green parents decided to donate the slain boy's organs to save the lives of seven people who went on to live healthy lives with the legacy of Nicholas Green. This was the beginning of what came to be known as The Nicholas Effect (l'Effetto Nicholas).

I first read the story many years ago in Readers Digest while spending vacation time in Kannur, Kerala and was immensely moved at the glorious spirit of the Green parents who at a time of terrible personal tragedy chose to remember their Godsend child by coming to the aid of seven Italians who mercifully clung to dear life while meekly oblivious of their fate with every passing moment.

At a time when organ donations were not readily heard of in Italy, this noble act came as a huge booster to prospective organ donors while adding to widespread growth of awareness. As a result, the stigma and lack of knowledge related to organ donation stemmed drastically and Italy alone witnessed a tripled rate in organ donation since the event, ranking it second in Europe, only after Spain, in the volume of organ donations conducted.

Five years later, in 1999, Reg Green, Nicholas Green's father authored The Nicholas Effect which was an instant bestseller in the United States and Italy while also having been translated in a number of languages for print across the world. Subsequently, a movie by the name of Nicholas's Gift was made casting Jamie Lee Curtis and Alan Bates. With time the young boy's name and legacy found place in many a charitable event that was associated with education, organ donation and sports.

At this juncture, I'd like to quote a message from Reg Green which talks about the seven recipients and the motivation behind The Nicholas Effect.

"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 our lives we donor families can feel proud that our loved ones saved someone in desperate need when no one else in the world could."


It has been 14 years to the date since the incident and a couple of years since I first read about it. I get the same lump in my throat while remembering the story and have to stealthily wipe off the sometimes spontaneous teardrop that strays down my eyes! I recommend that you read this extremely moving chronicle by sourcing a copy of the Digest that published it. (It is many years old, now)

At a time when we deem it difficult to rationalize how best we can help our fellow beings while alive, this story is a remarkable account of how one boy, all but seven, made a massive difference even after he departed!

I will conclude this post with perhaps the most apt description of the Nicholas Effect.

“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

(John Wesley, English Evangelist & Founder of Methodism, 1703-1791)


Footnotes:

Do visit the The Nicholas Green Foundation
Photo Courtesy: The Nicholas Green Foundation.

56 comments:

  1. Touchy. I think these organizations are scarce in this kind of a world. Also, Organ donors are real rare and blessed. Kudos to them.
    Nicholas Green foundation should be made a compulsory field trip to schools and institutions.

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  2. Is great the organ donation, and seems Nicholas Green left dark foot step, giving lives to 7 persons comprising 7 hills of Rome! The Organ donate is in rise currently, similarly the one incident happen alike Nicholas in Tamil nadu recently was another disclosed awareness on organ donation.

    Thanks for bringing this post.

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  3. Your blog is very touching Rakesh.

    As Jeevan points out, the below links show that it is happening here, in India too.

    http://www.hindu.com/2008/09/24/stories/2008092458800100.htm

    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Accident+victim%E2%80%99s+organs+donated&artid=GhPVPdqs1ig=&SectionID=vBlkz7JCFvA=&MainSectionID=vBlkz7JCFvA=&SectionName=EL7znOtxBM3qzgMyXZKtxw==&SEO=Radha%20Krishnan

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  4. Vibhu

    Yes, such generosities are very rare to find! Thankfully the stigma behind organ donations seem to fade away gradually in India as links from KAT state (3rd in comment from yours). And yes, I agree when you say that the Foundation needs to be made a compulsory field trip / subject for study

    Thanks for coming!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  5. Jeevan

    Indeed, Nicholas Green left us very warm memories of himself and his legacy which has helped scores of people to enjoy a second lease of life! Yes, I'm aware of the rising trends in organ donations in Tamil Nadu, thanks to KAT's comments and links supplied alongside (the one just below your comment)

    It is remarkable that people are ushering in change which is so very needed!

    Thanks for visiting!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  6. Kat Sir

    Thanks very much for your very appreciative comment and also those very precious links that hold our people in high esteem while showcasing their extreme generosity at the most turbulent times.

    I would call them Gods on Earth!

    Thanks very much

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  7. hi this is really wonderful of you to share with us. its stuff like this that keeps a person believing in the human spirit...also, thanks very much for coming by my photo blog...

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  8. Very touching story with a great lesson!

    Even in DEATH we can give LIFE to others.

    Wut a very generous, compassionate and life-giving gesture is organ donation.

    Keshi.

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  9. Tr3nta

    Am not sure what the problem is! What browser do you use?

    I can see the picture open up while accessing the page via IE but then the picture is invisible when I use Mozilla Firefox! I guess it is a browser issue. Do check and let me know!

    Take care

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  10. B.C.

    Welcome here and thanks very much for leaving me a very appreciative comment!

    Nicholas Green is a marvel and hence his legacy is worth its value more than gold! His story moved me immensely!

    Thanks once again!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  11. Keshi

    Indeed, this is very touching! Nicholas Green is a living legend and the legacy he left behind is the cause for many a life to be well lived!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  12. I remember this terrible event very well and also in which way Nicholas' parents donated their beloved son's organs without any doubt in order to help other people win their struggle for life. They are the example of how a human being should reach out to his next of kin. Thanks for reminding us of this today.

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  13. informative and touching...I think fellow blogger 'blognote' has explained beautifully....thanks for visiting my blog......

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  14. Hi Rak!
    I've seen a book about this sometime online..

    a touching and inspirational post..

    btw, Rak..there may be a death anytime on my virtual corridor...I hope you are the best one to be entrusted with donating organs...but i'm not sure if any part will be of any use to anyone..all rusted and obsolete ;-))

    but you...i need to see you sometime!!

    btw, got 'Ramanan'?? tell me if you need it..i have placed it back home..

    wishes!
    devika

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  15. do all the good you can where ever u can...yes i just hope that everyone who reads this atleast tries his/her best to follow particular thing

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  16. it's a great thing to do..i respect everyone who donates.
    nice post

    take care

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  17. Hi! Thanks for all your nice comments over the weeks!

    Greetings from TORUŃ DP here in Poland!

    ReplyDelete
  18. True...that created a whole new dimension!

    Keshi.

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  19. Blognote

    I was greatly inspired by Nicholas Green and the Green Foundation and deeply saddened by the mishap. The Green foundation is indeed a very shining example of how human beings leave a lasting legacy for the betterment of their kind.

    Thanks for your comments

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  20. Humanobserver

    Welcome here! Thanks very much for visiting and leaving me with your comment while also adding to my list of followers (blog walkers as I like calling). Appreciate it!

    Do keep visiting

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  21. Devika Ma'am

    Thanks as always for your comment!

    I am however stumped by the comment stating an impending death on your virtual corridor, which I didn't quite understand! It kinda scares me now!!!! Please clarify!!!

    And regarding Ramanan, I have not got it as yet. I have written to Crossword who've assured that I will be shipped a copy soon! Thanks so much for remembering Ma'am!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  22. Rakesh

    Yes, those lines by John Wesley are very meaningful. If only the world can imbibe it and follow it to the core....... a lot of things will change!

    Thanks for coming and leaving me your comment!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  23. Vicky

    Thanks for visiting and leaving me your comment! Quite alike, I too respect organ donors a great deal.

    It takes a great deal of will and courage to part with pieces of oneself!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  24. TORUŃ DP

    Welcome here and thanks very much for leaving me your comments which I greatly appreciate!

    I enjoy visiting your blog too!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  25. Keshi

    Indeed, this generous act created a whole new dimension altogether, one that gives and extension of life to the needed!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  26. Hi Rak!

    No worries please...
    i don't like or can't help seeing scared or worried people around..that too men! ;-)

    what i meant was -- one day, one fine morning or a cold night -- you will miss to hear the foot steps on the corridor...and by the time you fear something bad happened..either the foot steps will become audible again...or you will get a mail alert that the corridor-stalker has lost his life..and you may sell the virtually available parts --just 3 parts, as of now-- at the earliest...

    but, since there's a copyright, the proceeds has to go to my husband...i have already reached a deal with my husband and he would pay you handsomely...you may even renegotiate...;-))

    got something now? my budhu...

    wishes!
    devika

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  27. one more thing Rak,
    actually the proceeds other than nominal subsistence charges are to got for charity..so if you are the one who sells the parts, may Kat (he is here) also get his due ...i mean for his charity organisation...

    if the real me survives all the virtual 'me's ...ofcourse, i'll take care of the sale ;-))

    wishes!
    devika

    you know what, i used to get lot of scholding from my father for talking such non-sense...i lost him in 2003..Now my husband has given me so much freedom..he doesn't control even my insensibilities and
    insensitivities...

    something should be done...what to do??

    only i can find a way out...i means the real I...

    devika

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  28. Dear Devika,

    People like you are the light-house for many. God bless you with long years so that you enlighten many as teacher.

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  29. A touching post, Rakesh. In fact I'd say it's another one from you :) One must ever applaud the generosity, and the sheer goodness of spirit, of the Green Parents, in that selfless act through such personal tragedy. A sure inspiration, it has been, and continues to be, and such a life-giving hope, in the face of the final moments of life too!

    Thank you. I had not heard of Nicholas Green, and now I want to find out more, to share with others. Thanks for that!

    And, as always, a beautifully written tribute, both the parents, and the movement that ensued.

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  30. Donating organs is the best way to see your loved ones still alive and helping another person to live.
    If possible can you give any link to the article in Reader's digest? It would be kind of tough for me to get hold of such an old edition..WOuld be great if possible.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Devika Ma'am

    Phew! Now things have fallen into place! Indeed, in the event of anything falling still in your virtual space, Kat Sir and I will step in as your executive officers to continue on your lines ;)

    Yes of course, your husband will remain Chief Executive of the project and will be entitled to all the proceeds, the disbursal of which he will decide, based on our advise ;) [I can see myself opening some swiss bank accounts ;) ]

    But then, why this thought quite suddenly?

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  32. Kat Sir

    Quite correct! I have known Devika Ma'am since 2003 and incidentally it was She who introduced me to the world of writing!

    She is a person who is very dedicated and die-hard optimistic.

    On a lighter note, now that she has given us the power-of-attorney to her spaces, where shall we consider opening our bank accounts? Cayman islands, Switzerland? ;)

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  33. Usha

    Thanks so very much your very appreciative comments! Greatly appreciate them!

    Yes, the story of Nicholas Green is very touching and tragic. One cannot imagine the courage and the generosity of the Green parents who donated Nick's organs!

    True Selflessness!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  34. ArchFULLY

    Yes indeed, which is perhaps the best of leagacies Nicholas left us with!

    I do not have the link to the RD article, but I'm searching hard!
    The moment I get it, I will have that emailed to you for sure

    Thanks for coming and leaving me your comments!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  35. Hi Rak!

    Thank you for your *kind* comments at my blog :-)

    & if you ask why this thought quite suddenly...

    Well, i would say - "Somethings are better SAID than UNSAID" ;-))

    But may be an other TIME...as the spacetime curve moves...you met Art and Poetry? you need to read his latest..if quantum science interests you...

    thanks a lot, but I would STILL say the Terms of 'Our' contract should remain...always!

    i mean you should be the first one to come to my blogs..ahhahhaaha

    wishes!
    devika

    Rak: met more international bloggers; they are much better when it comes to blogging!

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  36. @rakesh
    one of the best posts.Because it carried a great vision.Also it conveys a secret.Our relationship with our own bodies.That "sense"or "feeing" called me uses everything.. from my brain to my guts..but they all are independent systems with their own brains..
    if they are healthy when my system is fatally damaged.. i should allow other "lifes" inside me to let live their own lives...
    but it hurts when i think about nicholas family...
    but when i think about you and your mind..i am proud to be the friend of a person so good like you..
    wishes
    MIP

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  37. hi Rak!
    com to Soc pol blog...
    call this MIP also..if he agrees to join :-)

    he is a nice ma, 'was' a good friend ;-))))

    devika

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  38. Hey Rak...
    what kind of a follower are you??

    the Soc-pol is blank, CKW is attended...

    after certain kind of *women* or what?? :-))) venda mone...apakadam pidicha kaliyaanu...anubhavathil ninnu prayukayaane :-)

    be there at Soc-Pol -- at the earliest with the project team...
    i may sound a bit serious there..never mind..i am a silly serious kind...i already said at CKW :-)

    Love you, Rak (you know when i say that- when i feel the roar of oceans :-))
    devika

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  39. Devika Ma'am

    I must apologize for not being able to visit your blogs over the weekend! I was out with friends and hence could not catch up! But, there seems to be quite a development on your space!

    I understand the need for a break, especially when one is deeply ensconced within its confines. A good break charges up the mind, sparks the intellect and brings a very fresh perspective! Most importantly it helps one stay away from the electronic maze of the virtual world, the once a while abstention being a very needed one.

    Coming to the part involving "selling" parts of your virtual space, thanks very much for appreciating my comments ;) and also for paving me a way to "operate" a numbered account or two with swiss banking corporations ;)

    And no! I'm not after certain kind of women ;) for I've been "toasted" once and perhaps my poor lil' heart may no longer be able to bear another forceful turn ;)

    Post this comment, I am rushing to the Socio-Political space!

    And yes, I very much agree with you when you attribute a sense of quality to international bloggers! They carry within them a sense of passion like no other and truly respect the efforts behind blogging, no matter however trivial the effort may be!

    Love you lots too Ma'am..... you have always been a very strong sense of inspiration and motivation and will continue to be so forever!

    I am very fortunate to be associated with you!

    God Bless and Good Luck!

    Warm Regards & Wishes

    rakesh

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  40. ente ponnu Rak,

    ithrayokke parayaanundo karyangal...

    poyi comment cheyyedo..(comment adikkaruthu, thirichu varunnathum vaangendi varum..ennu chila friends-ine (allenkil avarude firends-ine) onnu ormippichekkukka)

    love, (shey, eppozhum athine 'abuse' cheyyunnathu thettalle ;-)

    so, wishes
    devika

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  41. MIP my good friend!

    Thanks very much for your visit and also your deeply encouraging comment!

    It is interesting to note the relationship between body parts especially when one considers the controlling factor of the brain and how seamlessly coordination happens among one another! The human body is a marvel like no other!

    Your belief that parts of such a system should be donated in the event of a general system failure, is very noble since it gives a lease of life to a very needy person of perhaps people!

    The legacy that Nicholas left and the true sense of generosity of the Green parents is a act which is akin to an act of God!

    Thanks so much for your very kind words! it is indeed an honour and pleasure to be associated with you!

    Warm Regards & Good Wishes

    Rakesh

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  42. Hi Rak!
    thank you for the comments at my blogs..

    and the questions -- Yeah some questions are better to be asked than leaving not asked....

    and 'the seeker' will get the answer at the right time :-)
    its all predestined, they say...

    profound -- as far i know, found it pro...its about finding the meaning of life before death..occurs whhen you choose death as your companion ..

    my master writer taught me...but then it was such a risky game, and very pleasurable play..that she gave herself to Death ven after all numbness brought to her senses by Life

    Rak, in this profoundness, you may find me using others words and phrases..it should not be taken as plagiarim because its the remnant remains of recent readings as i walked through the corridor..

    got anything? if not leave it..it was all a Bluff...

    acha Bluff..that reminds me of Andrew's photo -- go and see it....
    http://vanburendailyphoto.blogspot.com/

    wishes!
    devika

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  43. Hi Rakesh,
    Nice to see people writing on this. Had read about this so many years back that I had almost forgotten about it.
    Cheers,

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  44. Devika Ma'am

    There is something beyond what can be seen in your recent writings! I can vouch for that.

    Questions, are as you said, better best asked rather than left hidden away in the cobwebs of the mind!

    "The seeker will get the answer at the right time :-)
    Its all predestined, they say..."

    Now, I'm definitely waiting for the answer, not that I will taunt to get to it!

    It all seems to add up to something that I'm very unaware till date, or better still, until now. You say you've walked through the corridor....... oh my gosh..... walking through the corridor connotes a NDE (near Death Experience)!!!!!!

    Enthokkeyo ariyathe nadannukondirikunnu!!!! Entha ennu manasillvunnilla! Pakshe, nadakunnthellam verum saaram ennu nyan kartuhilla.....more so to think that all this is a bluff, no!!! I will not consider that so!

    Maybe I need to enlist some help after all!

    Thanks also for Andrew's photoblog link. I did make a fleeting visit! I will go back for more and continue to do so!

    Devika Ma'am.... do take care!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  45. Salil

    Thanks very much, as always, for your very encouraging comments!
    Appreciate it!

    The story is Nick Green is very inspiring and has been very close to my heart! I'm glad that I could cast it on my blog! It's an honour to have his legacy etched here!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  46. hi Rak!
    even i'm not sure..what all went into the making, which made take a real break...

    with me it all came to light --national, international...et all came to light on a single day..last wedneday..and thursday i had to take a day off...

    all i know is that firebird, wanda, andrew, kai..were the only ones who could be trusted as friends and they remained a very kind and loving support ...whatever may be the interpretations ...

    but when it all came to me on a single day...i will tell- since i had lost my mind once before, i could make out me busting again...else i would have been now -- what to say- not even with death...

    walking in the corridor was perhaps a premonition that GOD gave me...

    who knows the ways of the world, yet i know all were acting for my good..that makes me ome back with a smile...that shines from within...

    the pain and time are connected..time and its motion will take the pain off - i'm sure..

    love,
    devika

    ps: if at all someone promotes somebody, let the person know...its a bad world out there..so the first instinct is to doubt intentions

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  47. Hi Rakesh! I thought I had left a comment here... Vanished... Interesting text, but couldn't download the picture!
    Blogtrotter is departing Armenia. It leaves you however with a view that Tsar Nicholas didn’t see… ;))
    Have a great week!

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  48. Devika Ma'am

    Everyone of us goes through such stages every once a while! Perhaps, at best, such times are intended to make one stronger to be able to withstand many a rough patch in the future!

    I'm most glad that you found support at a time when you needed it the most and I pray that you are supported at all times by people near and far!

    And yes, time is a wonderful healer!

    Do take care

    Warm Regards and Wishes

    Rakesh

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  49. Hello Gil

    Thanks very much for your comment!
    Yes, there is a problem with the picture! Am not sure why it cannot be downloaded. I wonder if I could republish this post without changing its original date of posting and perhaps repair the error related to the picture!

    I did visit your space and was treated to another round of wonderful pictures from Armenia which I so much relished.

    Thanks for sharing and do have a wonderful week ahead

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  50. a touhing post to honour a really noble act.

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  51. Hello Polona

    Thanks very much for your comments
    Appreciate it!

    Warm Regards

    Rakesh

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  52. I had goosebumps reading the final quotes. Very well written post Rakesh.

    I recently had a severe eye infection and I did something similar to this. I was thinking of writing something on that or not. and I guess I should do that very soon.

    Btw, Im blogrolling you.

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  53. Vimmuu

    In fact, when I first read of Nick Green many many years ago in RD, it was the same kind of feeling that I had too - lumps in my throat!

    I truly believe this is an act of God!

    Do write about how you sailed past the eye-infection and the related ordeal!

    Cheers

    Rakesh

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  54. Very poignant narrative. You do have a wonderful way with words.

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  55. Babooshka

    Thanks very much for your warm and appreciating comments!

    Regards

    Rakesh

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