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Gase to honor Dante Pérez at Phoenix

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

On March 15, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase, Olympic gold medalist and UFC flyweight, Henry Cejudo, will join Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) and other jujitsu competitors to honor Dante Pérez, a jujitsu instructor who saved four lives and healed dozens more through his gifts of organ and tissue donation.

Dante Pérez, 24, became a jujitsu instructor to help at-risk youth stay out of trouble. Known for his kind spirit, Dante always looked for ways to make a positive impact in his hometown of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Beloved by his students, he was their role model. However, Dante was taken too soon from his loved ones when he succumbed to injuries he suffered in a car accident in November 2016.

Dante's parents made the generous decision to donate their son's organs and tissue, saving four lives and healing dozens more. "I lost my son," says José Pérez, Dante's father, "I didn't want somebody else losing theirs."

In 2011, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase lost his mother to a sudden brain aneurysm. He honored his mother's generous spirit by choosing to donate her organs and tissue, saving three lives and healing dozens more.

To promote the message of donation, Joey celebrates the legacy of a hero at every race he competes in by displaying the picture of a donor on the bumper of his #52 Donate Life car - and, this spring, Joey will honor Dante when he races at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on March 18. Typically, Joey gifts the bumper to the donor family after the race; this year, he will surprise them with the bumper at Team Beauregard Brazilian Jujitsu Gym.

Henry Cejudo, Brazilian MMA champion Bruno da Silva and jujitsu world champion Ryan Beuregard will come to support Dante's family and Joey. "Organ donation saves lives" says Henry, I am a registered donor myself, and I feel honored to celebrate the life of a fellow fighter who was so giving and kind."

-- Joey Gase Motorsports --