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Friday 2 August 2013

'Unite Against Violence': Doujon Zammit's Legacy

This story is as utterly heartbreaking as it is absolutely inspiring.

Doujon Zammit was a young man, aged 20, and on his first trip overseas with his cousin.

Doujon Zammit, photo used with kind permission from Rosemary Zammit
Then the unthinkable happened: the two young men were going back to their accomodation from a nightclub in Mykonos when four security guards impersonating police ambushed them, using metal batons to beat Doujon. Sadly, Doujon lost consciousness on the way to hospital and he died on August 2, 2008.

The story broke the hearts of family, friends, and complete strangers the world over. (I know the beautiful Zammit family, and my last memory of Doujon was at my wedding).

It was the worst nightmare of every parent, and Doujon's parents Rosemarie and Oliver Zammit, and his two younger brothers, lived it and still live it.

Five years to the day have passed, and the grief felt by Doujon's family is as palpable as ever.

At the time of his death, Oliver flew from Australia to Greece to be by Doujon's bedside, and after Doujon died, Oliver and his family decided to assign his son's heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys for life-saving surgery to those who so desperately needed it.

One such person was Kosta Gribilas. Doujon's heart was given to Sydney-born Kosta, whose partner Poppy is also from Sydney. Before the transplant, the couple were preparing for a wedding in Athens when Kosta became gravely ill. With his health rapidly deteriorating they had a rushed marriage at a registry. Years later, they married in Sydney with Oliver as best man.

The 'Doujon Effect' - placing the spotlight firmly on organ donation - has been felt in the past half decade, and this is thanks to Doujon's incredibly brave and committed parents to continue the plight.

The outcome of the court case was never going to be enough for this horrendous crime, and now, the hope to create something extraordinary out of heartbreak continues, with Doujon's mother Rosemarie instrumental in creating the 'Unite Against Violence' walk.

An anti-violence walk across the Harbour Bridge this Sunday, Rosemary told the Fairfield Advance and Liverpool Leader local newspapers that she would "watch the news and hear about all the ­violence and people being ­attacked for no reason and I knew I needed to do something."

She continued: "There needs to be an awareness and education that any form of violence can lead to death. And this walk is the first of many steps towards less violence and more kindness."

Rosemary has organised the walk with the help of the Homicide Victims' Support Group, who gave her family hope in the wake of Doujon's death.

She told the newspaper: "The realisation of the fact that I can survive and seeing other people share their ­stories in the group gave me hope for the future," she said.

"I've had this vision for a few years to do a walk and now it's becoming a reality, but I couldn't have done it on my own."

"What I really want is for this to go global."

And this is why I am so happy to write this post: to contribute to this awareness. I ask you to share this blog post with everyone you know.

Here are the details for the Homicide Victims' Support Group's Unite Against Violence walk:

WHY: To create an awareness of the reality that any type of violence can lead to death

WHEN: Sunday August 4, at 9.30am

WHERE: Meet at Observatory Park in The Rocks and then walk across the pedestrian footpath of the Harbour Bridge. The 2.5km walk will finish at Bradfield Park in Milsons Point for a barbecue

DETAILS: 8833 8400

Here is the flyer:

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