Alfred Debattista (1937-2017)
Alfred founded the Transplant Support Group in May 2000, shortly after receiving the heart of a young Gozitan lad. Alfred dedicated the rest of his life to promote organ donation in the Maltese Islands. This altruistic trait was very evident in Alfred’s personality as was his sense of caring and dedication towards organ recipients, renal patients and their families.
Alfred was not only my best friend but also a close colleague, a humble person who was always ready to help, especially during difficult moments. His top priority in life was his family – his wife Ghita, his son Ray, his daughter Nathalie, their spouses and of course his four grandsons who he simply adored.
I got to know Alfred 13 years ago in St Luke’s Hospital, a few hours before I donated my left kidney to a friend. He spoke with compassion and offered support that meant a great deal to me at the time. Alfred eventually persuaded me to join TSG as a committee member to assist and support living kidney donors and patients awaiting a transplant.
For almost 17 years, Alfred strived, and managed, to boost organ donation awareness by enrolling thousands of persons to sign up for the donor card, a small document that expressed so much sentiment and significance. He was also instrumental in the new legislation that allows anybody aged over 16 to be officially listed as donors on the National Register.
In recent months, when Alfred’s health was rapidly failing, I used to visit him both at home and in hospital. His last words to me were: “James, my best friend” …words that I will cherish for as long as I live. He was truly respected by all throughout his career with the police force and at Bank of Valletta. Alfred will be sorely missed by all although his spirit of generosity will doubtlessly live on. James Muscat President Transplant Support Group (Malta)