On March 23, 2007, Emmitt and Charlotte Ray receive a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. The voice at the other end asked if they were the parents of Jason Ray. Then the words, “Your son has been in an accident and you should get to New Jersey as soon as you can” were impossible to believe. Three days later, Jason Ray passed away.
Although Ray— a local from Concord and known to many for being Rameses, mascot of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill— passed away after an auto-pedestrian accident in 2007, his legacy lives on through the Jason Ray Foundation.
The foundation is set to hold its 11th annual dinner and auction on Saturday, Sept. 14 to raise money for families going through the organ transplant process.
Who was Jason Ray?
Ray was known publicly for being UNC’s mascot, Rameses. Jason brought an excitement and commitment to everything he did. When he led the crowd at UNC home games as Rameses, he did it with a flair that unmistakable.
When he traveled to Europe to study abroad, he didn’t just visit; he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, he visited the Sistine Chapel, he went to the Vatican and toured concentration camps.
He grabbed life by the horns and rode it for all it was worth.
When Ray was involved in a fatal auto-pedestrian accident his journey could have ended there, but Ray was in many ways larger than life. Not only was he 6’5” with a personality to match, he was dedicated to helping others.
When he was 13 he went on a mission trip to volunteer at an orphanage in Puerto Rico, followed by Haiti and Honduras. By the time he was 21, he had been on three mission trips and was dedicated to helping those less fortunate.
When Ray received his driver’s license, he checked the box to be an organ donor. He went home and told his Mom that he wanted to help others in case something every happened to him.
His family knew his wishes and honored him by donating Jason’s organs and tissues to the Sharing Network of New Jersey after he passed away.
Every person who received Jason Ray’s primary organs lived, and the 60-70 recipients that received his tissue and other gifts were blessed with a better quality of life.
The Jason Ray Foundation
After every person who received Ray’s primary organs lived, his story began to spread. To honor Jason and keep his memory alive his family decided to start a foundation to continue his good works.
The Jason Ray Foundation is dedicated to a mission of education, community service and raising awareness for organ donation. In addition for raising awareness, The Jason Ray Foundation raises money for the UNC Hospital Comprehensive Transplant Center’s Foundation, which has also set up a fund in Jason’s honor.
This fund benefits patients in all phases of transplant, including kidney donors.
It helps people on the transplant list with the costs of the operations and their rehabilitation before and after surgery. The money can also be used on anti-rejection medication that transplant patients must take after surgery.
Jason Ray Foundation Dinner & Auction
The dinner will be held at The City Club at Gibson Mill on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 4-8 p.m. The City Club is located at 325 McGill Ave. NW in Concord.
This year’s emcee is Kate Garner from Fox 8 in Greensboro and the guest speaker is Jeff Moore, American Airlines chief pilot.
There are many opportunities to sponsor or the event is $60 per person. There will also be a post- event celebration with live music from 8-11 p.m. at Cabarrus Brewing Co.
For more information visit www.jasonray.org.