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Organ donor's parents honored for keeping son's memory alive

Posted September 17, 2011

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— The parents of a 21-year-old University of North Carolina student whose organs were donated after he died nearly four years ago were honored Saturday by Carolina Donor Services at a banquet dinner in Durham.

Their son, Jason Ray, played the popular, energetic mascot Ramses for the Tar Heels. He was hit by a car in March 2007 while on a trip to New Jersey for the NCAA Sweet 16 tournament. 

"He made Ramses come alive," said his mother, Charlotte Ray. "When he put that suit on, he would just dance and jump."

Jason Ray was proud to wear the mascot costume in support of his school. He was also proud to check the organ donation box on his driver's license, Charlotte Ray said. 

"He said, 'Please don't bury me with anything that would help somebody else,'" she said.

Jason Ray Organ donor's legacy honored in Durham

So Charlotte and Emmitt Ray have made it their mission to keep their son's memory alive by promoting the importance of organ donation.

"We've been to Arizona, Washington, everywhere, just speaking about Jason," Emmitt Ray said.

The journey has had its ups and downs. The Rays have met all the people who received organs from their son, but in May, they got some bad news.

The man who received Jason Ray's heart died in New Jersey from kidney-related issues.

Still, Emmitt Ray said, his son's gift gave the organ recipients a new lease on life.

"All of them had a death sentence and Jason gave them new life and new hope," he said.

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  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Sep 19, 2011

    not a UNC fan, but I'm all for organ donors. it's a great thing to help others!

  • simplelogic Sep 19, 2011

    This story makes me want to cry. My sister and I both have a genetic kidney disease, she's now in the process of going on the transplant list, and I'm just a few years behind her. God bless anyone and everyone who thinks of other people's needs at the worst time in their own lives. What they give is priceless, in the true sense of the word.

  • albertleon7 Sep 19, 2011

    God Bless my niece Kara.