Following his mother's sudden death in 2011, NASCAR driver Joey Gase made the courageous decision to donate her organs and tissues, which ultimately touched the lives of 66 individuals in desperate need of a transplant. Since then, Gase has become as passionate about donation as he is about racing. In December 2015, he was awarded NASCAR's inaugural Community Champion Award for his work supporting organ, eye and tissue donation.
Atlanta Motor Speedway will soon fill its 110,000 permanent seats with motorsport fans. Meanwhile, over 119,000 men, women and children across the county are waiting for the gift of life through transplantation; over 5,600 wait in Georgia. For the upcoming Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gase will race the LifeLink #52 car in honor of his mother and others touched by donation and transplantation, like Officer Jody Smith.
Engaged to be married, Officer Smith, a Georgia Southwestern University Campus police officer, had a full life ahead of him when he was tragically killed in the line of duty. Officer Smith made the decision, before his death, to register as an organ donor. LifeLink is humbled to partner with Gase to honor Officer Smith on the LifeLink #52 car. Officer Smith's picture will be placed on the back panel of the race car and will serve as a tribute to the legacy Officer Smith leaves with those whose lives are forever changed by his decision to donate life.
On Thursday, March 2, Gase will visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services Customer Service Center in Locust Grove to share his personal experience as a donor family member and honor the life of Officer Smith, and donor families in general. Recipients, donor families, and registered organ donors will be invited to sign and make handprints on Gases' LifeLink #52 car during a special event called "Handprints of Hope." These personal tributes to organ donors, transplant recipients and healthcare professionals will ride with Gase on the track during his race as an inspiration for fans about the power of donation.
(Joey Gase Racing)