UNC Hospitals Honors Former Mascot Jason Ray

UNC Hospitals has officially named their transplant center after former UNC mascot Jason Ray.

His father Emmett Ray talked to UNC about the dedication.

“I think it’s incredible because he loved Chapel Hill and he loved UNC,” he said. “I just think what a legacy for a 21 year-old.”

Jason Ray traveled with the UNC men’s basketball to New Jersey in 2007, fulfilling his duties as Rameses, when he was struck by a vehicle.

He died three days later, but out of his death came life.

Ray was an organ donor and has been credited with saving more than 100 lives.

“This allows it on a 365-day calendar when anybody comes in to be able to remember Jason in a positive way of what he gave as an individual and what we’re giving to the community,” said UNC professor of surgery David Gerber.

David Erving, who received Jason Ray’s kidney and pancreas, also attended the ceremony.

“He’s actually a part of me,” Erving said. “Wherever I go, he goes. That’s why I wanted to come today, to show my appreciation. I could never thank them enough, or Jason enough.”

When Ray’s death made national news in 2007, over 50,000 people signed up to be organ donors.

In his honor, his family started the Jason Kendall Ray Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for the newly-named transplant center at UNC.

So far they are nearly halfway to their goal of $1 million.

For more information on the Jason Kendall Ray Foundation, visit their website.


Saturday Marks 6th Anniversary Of Former UNC Mascot’s Passing

CHAPEL HILL – Saturday is the sixth anniversary of former UNC mascot Jason Ray’s passing. Jason was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in 2007.

“It does not get any easier. It feels like when I say he’s been gone six years, it feels like it’s been 60,” said Charlotte Ray, Jason’s mother.

Jason was traveling with the men’s basketball team at the NCAA Regional in New Jersey, when a car struck him as he was walking back from getting dinner. Jason died three days after the accident. Because Jason was an organ donor, the Ray family started the Jason Ray Foundation.

“What we tried to do was take something that was so bad and so terrible and try to make something good out of it,” Charlotte said.

If the group can raise a million dollars to increase awareness and aid organ donation, the UNC Center for Transplant Care Clinic will be named in Jason’s memory. The Foundation has raised $200,000 so far.

“He has really opened doors for people,” Charlotte said. “There are more people that have put their little red heart on their driver’s license to be donors. And so many people that I see will say, ‘Charlotte, I’m an organ donor now thanks to your son.’”

Coming up on Sunday, April 28, the Foundation is hosting the 2nd Annual “Ray of Hope Brunch.” Plates are $50 and the money will go to raising money for the Jason Ray Foundation.

JasonRay.org is where you can purchase a ticket to the brunch.

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month.