Sunday, August 23, 2015

One heart, two families: How an Aussie couple's decision to donate their murdered son's vital organ saved another man's life on the other side of the world... and began a remarkable friendship

Daily Mail | Jennifer Russell

Doujon Zammit pictured at 16

It was a tragedy that could easily have torn a family apart - instead it was one that brought two families together in a lifelong bond of love and compassion.

Doujon Zammit was just 20 years old when he was tragically beaten to death by Greek bouncers on the island of Mykonos during a European 'trip of a lifetime' with his cousin in 2008.

But from his untimely death came an extraordinary story. Doujon was an organ donor and his Sydney parents, Rosemarie and Oliver, donated his major organs to help save others.

Doujon's heart was given to a Greek-Australian journalist Kosta Gribilas who was given only two weeks to live as his heart was failing. On August 3, 2008, Kosta woke up with Doujon's heart beating in his chest and a second chance at life - one he would not take for granted.

The Zammit family's selfless gift during a time of great heartbreak and distress helped forge an unbreakable bond between the two families, and their inspiring story is now detailed in the book Doujon's Heart available from Allen and Unwin publishers, priced at $29.99.

The remarkable gift of a second chance at life was one Kosta would and could never forget.

He personally wanted to thank Rosemarie and Oliver for donating their son's heart and giving him a the hope of living again. Mr Zammit also wanted to meet the family of the man who received his son's heart, so the Zammits visited Athens and met Kosta.

When they met, the Zammits discovered that Mr Gribilas and his wife Poppy, were 'beautiful people'. This filled them with hope and gratitude that they had made the right decision when honouring their son's wishes.

Since their first visit to Athens shortly after Doujon's death, Rosemarie, Oliver and their two sons Zeake and Laurent, grew closer to Kosta and his family, and this helped ease their pain. But their first meeting made Mr Gribilas uncomfortable.

'I was happy I was alive, But I couldn't express it in front of them. Because you know the way that he (Doujon) died,' he said on the Channel Nine 60 Minutes program. Continue reading


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