Augusta, GA (WJBF) - Thursday was more than just a typical school day at Augusta Christian Schools. There was a special guest, and a special ceremony, to honor Drew Passmore.
Passmore was an AC student-athlete who died in a car accident two years ago. He was an organ donor so his death has saved lives.
Now, NASCAR driver, Joey Gase, is paying tribute to the Augusta teen.
“My mom, she passed away in Spril of 2011 of a sudden brain aneurysm,” Gase explains.
Gase’s mom, like Drew Passmore, was an organ donor.
“Ever since that day I wanted to do whatever I could to raise awareness for organ donation because I've learned there's over 110,000 people on the wait list nationwide and without life-saving organs, unfortunately they're going to pass away,” says Gase.
Augusta Christian's mission for the year is “live life, give life.” The theme was chosen well before Thursday’s event to honor Drew. The Passmore family says the school where their son attended from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade was the perfect spot to commemorate the gift of life Drew gave through organ donation.
On Thursday, Gase and his team unveiled the car in which he will race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The racecar—dedicated to Drew Passmore and other organ donors like him.
The silence was broken only by the sound of the cover being rolled off the #35 car. It was an emotional moment for the family when Gase unveiled his car with Drew’s senior picture on the back.
Dozens of handprints were added to the front hood of the car on Thursday with notes to Drew. Messages like—“Miss and love you, Dad.”
“His legacy continues on,” Drew’s dad Andy says. “He did give life and that's what the car is really all about and I think it's just a prime example. I appreciate the fact that they thought of us because in most cases when they do these they do them in major cities so it was a big honor.”
Between the fans who will show up in person at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the TV coverage, millions of people will see the #35 car. They will see the colorful hand-prints and messages from Drew's family, friends and his Augusta Christian teachers.
“Being able to turn on the TV on Sunday and watch the race and see that car and know that the hand prints of some of our staff members, the Passmore family and some of our students are on that car— it's really neat to see,” says Augusta Christian’s Head of Schools, Les Walden.
Gase says the exterior of his car has the power to save more lives.
“People may not know what the Life Link logo is or the Donate Life logo, but when they see Drew's photo on there and all the hand prints they're going to look into it and see well, why is this on the car,” Gase says. “When we do that it obviously honors drew, but not only that, it raises a lot of awareness for organ donation.”
The Passmore family is headed to Atlanta this weekend to watch Gase compete as he sports their son’s picture on his car.
The next event hosted in Drew's honor is the Battle Won Foundation's annual golf tournament. CLICK HERE to register.
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