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.