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Thursday 27 August 2015

'Doujon's Heart' Book Launch: Zammit and Gribilas Families: PHOTOS

What a day it was today.

The launch of the long-awaited book 'Doujon's Heart', the story of Doujon Zammit, his life and tragic death, and the far reaching and life altering impact his decision to one day donate his organs should the need arise (that decision was verbalised during a family conversation around the dinner table, before his trip overseas), and how that would change the course of many lives - forever.

The book is very much also the story of Kosta Gribilas, the man who received Doujon's heart in a heart transplant operation half a world away in Greece, the same country where Doujon met his tragic fate.

It's also the story of the incredible friendship forged between two families, joined by tragedy, and forever linked by the chain of events, a story many around the world now know.

And: it's the story of unspeakable sadness, experienced again when Kosta and his wife Poppy lost their beloved baby daughter Konstantina Angelique.

The authors Greg Callaghan and Ian Cuthbertson have captured the stories of all these incredible people, and the collision of events which led to a lifelong bond.

The book is out August 31, and can be pre-ordered now.

The event: a beautiful event held at NSW Parliament House, officially launched by the Hon. Jillian Skinner, MP NSW Minister for Health, introduced by Dr Alan Amodeo, Director of Transplant Australia, with authors Greg Callaghan and Ian Cuthbertson expressing their gratitude working on this immense and emotional project, and Dr Elena Cavazzoni, NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service's state medical director, who gave some sobering stats on organ donation (see clip below), and what it all truly means, beyond the actual organ donation.

And then: Rosemarie spoke her beautiful heartfelt words, knowing what a journey it has been, and honouring her family and her 'earth angels', Oliver spoke off the cuff and we shed tears alongside him, and then some concise and emotional words from Kosta, with wife Poppy by his side. Allen and Unwin publisher Jane Palfreyman also spoke about how this story came to life in book format, and the audience all agreed with the authors' sentiments: how can you not love these beautiful people?

Here are some snaps and pics from the day (there are probably far too many of me and the families, more than I'd usually post in an event wrap up, but I was so happy for all involved today, and thought I'd also share some of my snaps, too):

Rosemarie and Oliver Zammit, just after the book is officially launched 
Kosta Gribilas signing books, alongside his wife Poppy, below

Rosemarie and Oliver Zammit, and Poppy and Kosta Gribilas
Rosemarie and Oliver Zammit signing books side by side, just as they everything in life
Zeake Zammit and Josie 
Oliver Zammit signing books


Oliver Zammit and Josie

Here is some footage from the day (originally taken on my Instagram page @josiegags - hence the reason they are all (bar one) 15 seconds long:

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