To raise awareness for organ donation, many lend a hand for special paint job on race car

Jim Melwert
October 03, 2019 - 3:10 pm
Handprints on NASCAR driver Joey Gase's car as part of Gift of Life program.

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — People whose lives have been touched by organ donation got to lend a hand, literally, to help paint a car that will take part in this weekend’s NASCAR events in Dover. 

Driver Joey Gase will race this weekend in NASCAR’s Xfinity series at Dover’s Monster Mile, and he hopes a very special paint job on his car will turn some heads.

“It’s rare to see handprints all over a race car, people want to know why, then we get to tell them why," Gase said. 

Gase uses his car to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation as his mom was able to help 66 people after she died from a sudden brain aneurism when he was 18. 

“Ever since that day, I wanted to do whatever I could to help raise awareness for donation because I learned there’s over 110,000 people on the waitlist nationwide and I want to get that down to zero," he said. 

He brought his car to the Gift of Life Family House to get those handprints.

“We let anyone connected to donation in some way, shape or form paint their hand and place their handprint on our car and write a small message," he explained. 

One of the handprints on the car is from Kelly Schmitt from Lansdale. She recently donated a kidney, but she’s been a volunteer with Gift of Life since her mom became a donor after her death about 10 years ago, which she says has helped her and her father deal with some of the loss. 

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“That has been the reason why my father and I have been able to get through. A very dark time is so much easier to handle when it’s filled with love and hope and peace, and you know that there’s a greater good through all of it," she said. 

She praises Gase for using his platform to spread the word about organ donation.

“To have someone who has the power that he does, make it almost enticing to see what is this car with all these handprints? And it brings our story to the forefront, his story to the forefront and it will literally save thousands and thousands of people," Schmitt added.  

KYW Newsradio Suburban Bureau Chief Jim Melwert, a living kidney donor himself, participated in the event.