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Advocacy & Education

NASCAR Driver Races to Raise Awareness for Organ & Tissue Donation

October 21, 2021

Donate Life Texas was proud to partner with Joey Gase for an organ, eye and tissue donor tribute honoring organ and tissue donor Jordan Santiago, living donor Lisa James, and two-time heart recipient Lemuel Bradshaw.

Donate Life Texas (DLT) was proud to partner with NASCAR driver, donor son and Donate Life advocate, Joey Gase for Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 NASCAR Xfinity Series race held on Saturday, October 16th.

At the age of 18, Gase tragically lost his mother, Mary, to a sudden brain aneurysm. Faced with a difficult decision, he and his family gave their consent to donate his mother’s organs and tissue. Later, they learned that her gift helped to save and improve the lives of 66 people.

Gase developed a passion for educating others on the need for organ, eye and tissue donation and honoring all of those affected by donation and transplantation. His car regularly features the face of his mother, other donors, and organ and tissue recipients and those waiting, making his one of the most unique cars in NASCAR.

“I’m excited to team up again with our friends at Donate Life Texas. I’m thankful for their partnership to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and honor all of these amazing people,” says Gase.

In what has become an annual tradition for what Gase calls “Handprints of Hope,” organ, eye and tissue honorees, including family and friends, were invited to submit virtual handprints and messages of hope to be displayed on the DLT #52 car. This year, organ and tissue donor Jordan Santiago, living donor Lisa James and Lemuel Bradshaw who has received two heart transplants, along with 173 other Texans were featured on Gase’s car at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Jordan Santiago was known to those who knew him as a cheerful giver with the heart of a servant. His life was marked by achievement, community service and his gift to engage with people. His giving heart and passion to help others drove his family to support and say “yes” to donation. Jordan saved five lives through his gift of six organs and healed many others through tissue donation. His gifts to medical research and education will be of great benefit to countless others.

Lisa James, a mom of three children, donated her kidney to 10-year-old LeeAnn Sweeny in a coordinated donation between UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas. In October 2020, she made the decision to start the donation evaluation process and less than one year later, she was matched with LeeAnn. Reflecting on her living donation, Lisa calls it “one of the sweetest blessings of my life.”

Lemuel Bradshaw is honored as a two-time heart recipient and an advocate for the DLT mission since his first heart transplant more than 20 years ago. Lem says: “Two heroic families made it possible for me to have two heart transplants, see my children grow up and give me nine grandchildren. I will forever be grateful to all involved.” Lem also states, “I live in honor and awe of donor heroes!”

For Gase, the Donate Life continues to be a long-term mission. Gase was awarded the COMCAST Community Champion of the Year in 2015 for his work supporting Donate Life.