LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Over at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, pictures of five Nevada organ donors are plastered on the No. 35 car.
Driver Joey Gase, whose passion for racing merged with a purpose, hopes to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation on Saturday when the Nevada Donor Network car will race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“Donation is so important to me because of my mom, Mary,” Gase said. His mother died of a sudden brain aneurysm in 2011 and he and his family faced a difficult decision.
“We knew she could no longer continue her life and she would want to do whatever she could do to help others continue theirs,” Gase said.
To Gase’s surprise, his mother saved 66 lives through organ donation.
The day he and his family came home from the hospital, they discovered that they made the right decision. They found Mary’s driver's license that stated she was a registered donor.
That same year, Gase raced in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“I think she’d be happy that I’m not only racing but supporting an important cause as well,” he said.
To do this, Gase decided to partner with the Nevada Donor Network.
Along with the pictures of local donors on his car are Handprints of Hope. Families of Nevadan organ donors sent messages to honor their loved ones.
“It makes you think of the ripple effect: how many other people you’re really helping from that one person because now they’re able to continue to know their friends, their families, their coworkers,” Gase said. “So you’re helping thousands, which is really really cool.”
After the race, Gase will meet the families of the local organ donors he's honoring on his car. He invited them to the race as his special guests.
Gase hopes that when NASCAR fans see his car, they will have a conversation with their loved ones about becoming a registered organ donor.
For more information about organ donation, go to nvdonor.org.