SPARTA, Ky. -
Race car driver Joey Gase won't be riding alone this this weekend when he races at Kentucky Speedway.
He'll be carrying a message and a person deeply rooted his heart as he speed around the track Friday evening during a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Gase is living a young man's dream as a professional driver at 20 years old.
But two years ago, his life was turned upside down when his mother, Mary, died suddenly of an aneurysm.
She worked out all the time, ate healthy all the time. She was perfectly healthy. And it just happened," Gase said. "They say there is no way you can predict them. It just happens."
At the age of 18, a man in the eyes of the law, Joey had to be the one to decide to donate his mother's organs and tissues. He knew it was what she would have wanted.
"My mom always loved helping people. She always had a big heart," the proud son said. "She was always helping people when she could and we knew if she could help all these people, if she could no longer continue her life, this is what she would want to do."
When he isn't going 200 miles per hour around a track, Gase is now spreading the word about organ and tissue donation.
In total, his mother's death helped more than 60 people live or live better lives.
"We know she is still living on now through other people. I think it's amazing what an impact she's still making in peoples lives and she's not even here with us anymore. Except through them," Joe Gase said.
He said he thinks about his mother every time he gets in his car, which always has a picture of an organ donor on it.
He says knowing his mother lives on in some way helps and encourages other to "go out as a hero."
Joe Gase says he's honored that Donate Life sponsors his car and helps him spread his mother's story of selflessness.