• 10 years later, UNC mascot's memory kept alive through organ donation

    By: DaShawn Brown

    Updated:

    CONCORD, N.C. - Sunday will mark 10 years since University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill mascot and Concord native Jason Ray died after he was hit by a vehicle in New Jersey.

    "You've still got that big chunk in your stomach when you think about it," mother Charlotte Ray said.  

    Jason was in New Jersey to perform as the Tar Heels’ mascot, Rameses, in the NCAA Men’s NCAA Tournament. He was severely injured after being hit by a car on a Friday night in late March 2007. He died three days later.

    (Click PLAY to hear Jason's parents describe his love for life)

    Jason's parents Charlotte and Emmitt Ray sat down with Channel 9's DaShawn Brown and talked to her about their son's decision to become an organ donor years before his death.

    His parents described Jason as a young man who loved life, loved Carolina and also loved people. His decision to become an organ donor later helped 118 people.

    (Click PLAY to hear Jason's mother describe his decision to become an organ donor)

    "We just honored his wish and I've never regretted it," Charlotte Ray said.

    Ten years since his death, his legacy seems infinite. 

    [LINK: Jason Ray Foundation]

    His family started the Jason Ray Foundation in his honor, which raises money for other transplant patients. The foundation holds a golf tournament every year to help raise money. The tournament will be held April 3 in Kannapolis this year.

    UNC also renamed its transplant clinic in 2016 after Jason, whose death prompted more than 46,000 people to sign up to be donors too.

    "That was our whole intent when we started this, making sure Jason wasn't forgotten," Emmitt Ray said.

    Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

    Next Up: