Racing for Life
Joey Gase is more than a race car driver; he is an advocate for organ, tissue and eye donation.
Joey’s mother, Mary Jo, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in April 2011. Just 18 at the time, Joey made the courageous decision to donate her organs. He has been an advocate since that time.
Joey’s car is regularly adorned with the face of his mother and/or others who have given the gift of life, making his car one of the most unique in all of NASCAR. So when Donate Life Texas was approached about collaborating with Joey at his upcoming race at Texas Motor Speedway, the team was on it like a pit crew changing tires!
Joey’s team offered to feature a donor family or recipient on his XFINITY car, and a special volunteer family was selected – one who had both donated and received. Amanda Turnbull was 3 years old when her baby brother, Kyle, died at the age of 6 days old due to severe urea cycle, a liver disorder. He was a tissue donor. In 2008, when Amanda’s son Gavin was born, the family soon learned that that he would need a liver transplant. Gavin received his transplant at 17 months old. They knew then that donation had come full circle for their family.
Amanda and her family are avid fans of NASCAR. Earlier this year, as a follower of Joey Gase's career and connection to donation, Amanda entered her name on his website to receive one of his T-shirts. She later applied to become a LifeGift Ambassador of Hope. Once we learned her story, we saw the connection was perfect.
Gavin was chosen to be featured on Joey’s car along with his mom, Amanda, and older sister, Isabel. The family was also treated to a meet and greet with Joey and special pit passes, and they were recognized at the race itself. Ambassadors of Hope helped to register a large number of donors over the four-day event.
While Joey may not have won the NASCAR race, he certainly won the hearts of a special family and earned a loyal following from Texas race car enthusiasts.
For more information on Joey Gase, visit his website at www.joeygaseracing.com.