Noteworthy

UNC mascot's parents urge organ donation

Posted April 29, 2012

— The parents of a University of North Carolina student run over and killed five years ago want to keep their son's memory alive by supporting people who donate organs.

Charlotte and Emmitt Ray were in Chapel Hill Sunday to raise money for the Jason Ray Foundation. It's named after their son who played the Tar Heel's mascot Ramses and was hit and killed by an SUV in March 2007 while in New Jersey for the NCAA tournament.

"I'm trying to take something really bad and turn it into something good," Charlotte Ray said.

Her son's organs were donated after he died, and meeting the people who received them has changed her, Charlotte Ray said.

She and her husband admitted they didn't support organ donations when their son told them he signed up to be a donor.

"I said, 'Jason, do you understand what that means?' And he said, 'Yes, mother, I don't want to die, but if something happens and you can't save me, don't bury me with something that can help someone else,'" Charlotte Ray said.

Jason Ray Foundation Jason Ray Foundation supports organ donors

An event at the Carolina Club Sunday kicked off a campaign to raise $1 million for the Jason Ray Foundation. It will help pay for medical expenses not covered by insurances and other costs incurred by transplant recipients and living donors.

Johnny Watkin said he hopes the foundation will help people do like he has done. Last week, he donated his kidney to his former boss.

"I said, 'Mr. Bill, if there is anything that I can do to help you pull through, let me know,'" Watkins said.

The Rays said their son continues to inspire them and they are following in his footsteps.

"Now both of us are organ donors," Charlotte Ray said.

7 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • htomc42 May 3, 8:14 a.m.

    If we are so concerned about the supply of organs, why don't we fairly compensate the donors, applying the same economic principle to this demand as we do to every other?

    Every step along the way from donor to recipient makes a -very- healthy profit except for one- the donor - without whom none of it would even be possible. Offer a fair amount for blood while living, and posthumous organs, and I bet the shortage would end. A lot of people might be enticed to sell if it meant something extra for their families.

    The beg/shame/donate model simply doesn't work. It results in waiting lists, suffering and death. Isn't it time we re-thought this whole system?

  • piene2 May 2, 8:12 a.m.

    "Piene2, since the economic downturn, medical schools have far more cadavers than they can use. I hope everyone considers organ donation first and cadaver donation as a great second option if your organs cannot be used. Be sure, in all cases, that your family knows your wishes since they can completely ignore your wishes unless you have them documented!
    edith wharton"

    We are already setup with Duke, all parties are informed and though hopefully not for a long time, we are good to go. I agree organ donations are the most helpful way to go but firstly there are age constraints on most organ donations and medical schools will not accept cadavers that have been mined for organs with the exception of retinas.

  • edith wharton May 1, 10:05 a.m.

    Piene2, since the economic downturn, medical schools have far more cadavers than they can use. I hope everyone considers organ donation first and cadaver donation as a great second option if your organs cannot be used. Be sure, in all cases, that your family knows your wishes since they can completely ignore your wishes unless you have them documented!

  • pirategirl12 Apr 30, 5:47 p.m.

    My sis gave the gift of sight to others after her death. She was a giver her entire life and even in death.

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Apr 30, 4:36 p.m.

    my cousin was killed years ago, and his organs were donated to several others. losing his life was hard on his family, but they were very grateful to have saved others by donating.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Apr 30, 4:09 p.m.

    Praying that a organ donation will come.

  • piene2 Apr 30, 8:42 a.m.

    Or, as an alternative, consider donating the entire body to a medical school. They are always in need of cadavers for teaching purposes. That is what we are doing. The only expense is that concerning the cost of transporting the cadaver to the school. They cremate and return the ashes. Aside from helping out the school, this is a very affordable and environmentally friendly way to go.