Cori was a mother, wife and friend to many. She enjoyed living life to the fullest and was an avid NASCAR fan. She and her husband Shawn were camping for the 2019 NASCAR Atlanta race weekend when Cori passed away of sudden brain aneurysm. Cori made the decision, before her death, to register as an organ donor, and LifeLink worked with her family to honor her decision. Cori’s legacy continued as she saved three lives through organ donation. Through the LifeLink of Georgia partnership with NASCAR driver, Joey Gase, Cori’s picture was placed on the hood of the #51 car as a tribute to those whose lives were forever changed by her decision to donate life.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered our original plans to celebrate Cori’s life and gift of donation with her family during several events leading up to and on race day, however, in mid-March, we were able to gather in downtown Hampton, Georgia, near the speedway, where Joey, LifeLink of Georgia and the community honored Cori, and all donor families, with Cori’s family and friends. During this event, dubbed Handprints of Hope, over 100 transplant recipients, donor families, registered organ donors and members of the Hampton community were invited to leave handprints and signatures on Joey’s car.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, originally scheduled for March 15, 2020, was postponed, but has been recently rescheduled and the #51 car, featuring Cori’s photo, will be on the track for the televised race this Sunday, June 7, 2020. Although no fans will be in the stands, there will be millions watching the race from home, remembering Cori and cheering for Joey to finish strong as he races the LifeLink and Donate Life Georgia #51 car in honor of his mother and others touched by donation and transplantation, like Cori.
Joey is committed to honoring organ and tissue donors through his platform as a NASCAR driver because of his personal connection, which he shared with attendees at the Hampton Handprints of Hope event. Following his mother’s death in 2011 from a sudden brain aneurysm, NASCAR driver Joey Gase made the decision to donate her organs, eyes and tissues, which ultimately touched the lives of 66 individuals in desperate need of a transplant. Since then, Gase has become as passionate about donation as he is about racing. In 2015, he was awarded NASCAR’s inaugural COMCAST Community Outreach Award for his work supporting organ, eye and tissue donation and donor families. Rick Ware Racing is excited that Gase will pilot the No. 51 entry in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.