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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


NASCAR driver honors organ donors


Courtesy of Jacqueline Keidel

The family of Nick Korte will be attending an event as the guests of Joey Gase, a NASCAR driver. The event is being held in honor of organ donors, including Korte and Gase’s mother.

A UA student and her family will be a NASCAR driver’s special guests to honor organ and tissue donors at the Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

Caitlin Korte will be attending for Nick Korte, her brother, who was a registered organ donor. Joey Gase, driver of the number 52 Donate Life car, will be honoring Nick Korte at the race.

Nick Korte passed away in 2012, said Jacqueline Keidel, media relations coordinator for the Donor Network of Arizona.

“I definitely think this is a great experience because, Nick, my brother, loved doing anything that was fast, so I think that if he was still here he would be just so excited to have the opportunity to go over 100 miles per hour in a race car,” said Cailin Korte.

Caitlin Korte said her brother came home one day asking for signatures so he could register to be an organ donor.

“We kind of rolled our eyes at him because we didn’t think that at 15 and a half, you’re ever going to have to think about that again,” Caitlin Korte said.

Gase said his mother was an organ donor after she passed away of a sudden brain aneurysm in 2011. Gase said Nick Korte will be honored on the Donate Life race car this weekend.

“It’s always cool when we get to honor a donor,” Gase said. “It lets the family and the nation know that once you are a donor, you are never forgotten. When someone sees that picture on the car, they’ll always ask, well why is that person on the car? And we get to tell them their story and say why donation makes such a big impact in so many people’s lives.”

Caitlin Korte said Gase honors a different donor every year by putting their picture on his car. She said she thinks honoring her brother in this way is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

“I think the biggest impact it’s going to have is that it’s going to provide even more awareness to especially young people in a community that may not to be as open to organ donation,” Caitlin Korte said. “The NASCAR fan base is generally more conservative, and I feel like Joey Gase supporting organ donation so much is going to bring a lot of awareness to it.”

Keidel said Nick Korte’s gift of life saved five people after he passed away.

“Donor Network of Arizona is the federally designated organ recovery organization for the state, so we worked with Nick’s family at the time of his passing and helped facilitate that gift of life,” Keidel said.

Keidel also mentioned that since that time, Caitlin Korte has become an incredible volunteer for Donate Life, especially in Tucson, helping with registration events and a couple of signature events.

“An organ donor can save eight lives,” Keidel said. “If you have also chosen to be an eye donor, you can give the gift of sight to two people.” 

Keidel said there is currently an incredible need for organ donation in the state of Arizona.

“Right now, there are just under 2.5 million Arizonans registered as donors, and that is a little bit over 50 percent of Arizona’s adult population, which is wonderful, but there’s still about 2,500 people in Arizona waiting for the gift of life,” Keidel said. “But to be an organ donor, you do have to pass away in a hospital, which is why even though there are millions of people registered in Arizona, there is still such a great need for donation, because not many people pass away in that manner.”


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