SURPRISE, Ariz. (KSAZ)
A NASCAR driver competing in the X-Finity series will be honoring a local teen who died 2-years-ago.
The driver is taking the opportunity to share his story, and thank the Surprise, Arizona teen for what he did just months before he died.
At just 22-years-old Joey Gase is making a name for himself in the racing community, but he's more than just a racer. He's an advocate for organ, tissue, and eye donations.
"I feel like a lot of people don't know enough about donation. Hopefully, we can change that someday," said Joey Gase.
Joey lost his mom 4-years-ago, and then the 18-year-old had to make the bold decision to donate her organs.
"she was able to help 66 people, either save them or help improve their lives," said Gase.
That decision to save several lives gave the driver a new passion. A community in Surprise also remembered a teen who was able to do the same thing.
"We wanna educate and let them know, just like their friend that's on the car that passed away, that was an organ donor, how big and important it is in people's lives," said Gase.
Andrew Arellanes died in a car accident 2-years-ago, eight months before he died he checked the "Donor Box" on his driver's license application. He was an eye and tissue donor, and this weekend Gase will celebrate the teen's life and decision by putting a picture of him on his NASCAR.
"This is our Xfinity Car we'll be racing this on Saturday, and there's going to be a lot of people seeing Andrew's picture and seeing the Donate Life logo, and they'll know a lot more about organ donation," said Gase.
"Andrew was a loving, funny child, he was dedicated to his football career here, and we're proud that he was able to choose to help others. Through the tragedy we suffered there was something good that came out of it," said Heather Griffin.
"We're very proud of the things he's been able to do after his passing," said Zachery Foutain.
Andrew's corneas gave the gift of sight to two people in Arizona. And his tissue has been donated to seven people, ages 15-68.
For Joey, he says his passion for sharing his message about donation rivals his passion for racing. If you're watching the race this weekend look for car #52.