The National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF), the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the eye disease keratoconus, (pronounced carrot-oh-cone-us) has named NASCAR driver Joey Gase as Ambassador.
Gase, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, discovered his lifelong passion when he won the first of many Go-Kart races at age 8. By 18, Joey had been signed as a professional driver and was competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Today, Joey is driver and co-owner of Emerling-Gase Motorsports and has competed in more than 350 NASCAR events.
Keratoconus is a bilateral eye disease characterized by progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea which results in vision impairment. Keratoconus (or “KC”) most commonly begins in the teenage years and stabilizes in middle age. There is no cure for keratoconus, but its progression can be slowed or halted. In the most severe cases, a corneal transplant may be needed to improve vision.
Visual acuity for NASCAR drivers can be no worse than 20/40. Joey had worn glasses and contact lenses for vision correction for most of his life, but three years ago, he felt his vision was diminishing and visited his eye doctor who diagnosed him with keratoconus.
Conversations with the National Keratoconus Foundation led him to the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Iowa Medical Center where Gase was fit with impression-molded, custom contact lenses (EyeFitPRO) that improved his vision by compensating for the irregular shape of his cornea. With his vision improved to 20/10, Joey is more assured in his role as driver/owner. “In racing, you need to have confidence in your vision. Driving 200 mph around a 2.5 mile track, I need to clearly see the imprints, grooves and marks, as well as any debris on the track.” Gase added, “And, like any businessman, I spend hours each day in front of the computer. I am now able to see the screen clearly and don’t experience headaches as I did in the past.”
Now based in North Carolina, Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin have twin sons, Carson and Jace. Gase has devoted significant effort to promoting organ, tissue and eye donation and has been recognized by various organ procurement organizations for his charitable work. He is happy to add keratoconus awareness to his list of causes.
Mary Prudden, Executive Director of NKCF, was honored to welcome Gase as an Ambassador for the organization. “Joey’s history is like so many other individuals with keratoconus. He grew up believing he just had ‘bad’ eyesight when in fact he had a condition where his cornea was changing shape and his vision was becoming impaired.”
Prudden added, “Because of Joey’s history with transplant agencies, he is happy to spread the word that early detection and intervention can save eyesight and eliminate the need for a corneal transplant. Joey’s success as a NASCAR driver should be an inspiration to others who find that keratoconus is getting in the way of achieving their career goals."
About National Keratoconus Foundation: NKCF is an outreach program of the Department of Ophthalmology at University of California, Irvine. Since 1986, NKCF has educated patients and the public about keratoconus, an eye disease that causes the cornea to become weak and change shape, leading to reduced vision. To learn more, visit https://nkcf.org/
About Emerling-Gase Motorsports: In 2021, owner-driver Joey Gase joined forces with driver Patrick Emerling to form Emerling-Gase Motorsports. The team fields two cars, #35 and #53 full time on the NASCAR Xfinity Series circuit. To learn more about Joey Gase, visit https://www.joeygaseracing.com/.
(RICHMOND, VA) - Donate Life Virginia and NASCAR driver Joey Gase will host Handprints of Hope event. Symbolizing all the hands involved in this life-saving mission, DMV employees and Donate Life Virginia members will add their painted handprints to Gase’s Donate Life Virginia #35 car. At the age of 18, Joey tragically lost his mother to a sudden brain aneurysm. Faced with a difficult decision, he and his family decided to donate his mother's organs. Gase developed a passion for educating others on the need of organ, eye and tissue donation and honoring all of those affected by it. His car regularly features the face of his mother and other donors, making his one of the most unique cars in NASCAR.
Donate Life Virginia will feature Viola Barnes, a Virginia DMV employee and patient waiting for a kidney transplant, on the bumper of the Donate Life Virginia #35 for the ToyotaCare 250 race at Richmond Raceway on April 1.
Media are invited to attend. This event is not open to the public.
WHAT: Handprints of Hope with NASCAR driver Joey Gase and the #35 Donate Life Virginia car
WHEN: Thursday, March 30 11:30 a.m.
Arrive on time to get video of people adding handprints to car
WHERE: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
2300 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23269
Event will be in parking lot C located near DMV Drive and W. Leigh St
WHO: Interviews with NASCAR driver Joey Gase, Donate Life Virginia’s Lara Malbon,
Virginia DMV employee Viola Barnes and people who added handprints to the
#35 Donate Life Virginia car
Donate Life Virginia manages the state’s registry for organ, eye and tissue donation. One person can save eight lives and heal 75 others by registering to become a donor. Right now, 2,400 Virginians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. More than 90% of donor designations come through the DMV. Register your decision the next time you are at the Virginia DMV or online at DonateLifeVirginia.org.
The dynamic duo brings crime prevention and public awareness to the starting line
Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2023) – All crime prevention engines are a go on car #53 during NASCAR’S race at the Daytona International Speedway on February 18. Joey Gase and McGruff the Crime Dog® continue their crime fighting partnership and shine a light on criminals selling counterfeit products.
”As America’s Innovation Agency, the USPTO is working to change the narrative around purchasing counterfeit products and informing consumers about the dangers and consequences of purchasing counterfeit goods,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “The USPTO is excited to team up with Joey Gase and McGruff to take a bite out of this 21st century crime that puts the health and safety of millions at risk, jeopardizes American businesses and the millions of workers they employ, and threatens American competitiveness worldwide.”
Gase’s race car spotlights the Go For Real™ campaign which educates teens and tweens on the inherent dangers of purchasing counterfeit products. The campaign is sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As part of this effort, NCPC, McGruff, and Gase will host a variety of events in Daytona in the week leading up to the race.
“With the iconic crime dog by his side, Joey will reach millions of households in America and make one message clear: You’re smart. Buy smart,” said Paul DelPonte, executive director at NCPC. “After all, he knows first-hand the important role real car parts have on safety.”
Gase and McGruff will visit two schools in the Daytona area to educate kids on the campaign. Additionally, those in the area can register to attend the Very Important Pup (VIP) Meet and Greet on February 16. During the VIP event, kids will become certified Media Contact: Tatiana Peralta Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 954-895-5980 Dupe Detectives™ and receive Go For Real swag signed by Gase. Registration for the event will remain open through February 14.
“I am extremely excited to team up with the National Crime Prevention Council and McGruff to help Take A Bite Out of Crime,” said Gase. “Our fans loved it when we teamed up together last August in Daytona and I am excited to take the partnership to the next level with our BIGGEST race of the year!"
Sign up to receive updates for the week here and be entered into a raffle to receive signed swag from McGruff and Gase. You can also watch the crime fighters live on FOX Sports 1 at 5:00 p.m. ET.
To learn more visit ncpc.org.
NICO SANTOS | nico.santos@ dnaz.org | 602-222-2492 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Nov. 2, 2022
NASCAR driver and donor son, Joey Gase, to feature cornea and tissue donor on car at Phoenix Raceway
MESA, AZ— NASCAR driver Joey Gase will showcase his car featuring donor Gloria Estrada on the bumper at the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (ADOT MVD) location where she had registered as an organ, eye and tissue donor when she turned 18 years old—seven years before she passed away.
The grand reveal of the car to Gloria’s family will start at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, at the Mesa/Gilbert Regional ADOT MVD office at 4123 E Valley Auto Dr., Mesa, AZ 85206 ahead of his weekend race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale.
This story highlights how important ADOT MVD’s partnership is with Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) because their team gives Arizonans the chance to say yes to organ, eye and tissue donation. And the connection to the gift of life goes one step further for some ADOT MVD employees.
“In every situation I’ve encountered, including that of my father-in-law—a kidney recipient from a living donor—there is a universal gratitude for the gift of extra life they have been granted by donation,” says Bonnie Palomo, east regional manager for ADOT MVD and a living kidney donor. “I am proud to be part of an organization that advocates and empowers our community to make the choice to check that box and save lives.”
Joey Estrada and Melissa Garza, Gloria’s parents, honored Gloria’s life motto to always help others whenever possible by supporting her decision to donate.
“That’s where we’re finding our peace,” Melissa says, “just knowing that she has and will help so many.”
After Gloria passed away from a sudden onset of strokes, she offered the gifts of tissue, corneas, as well as hair and whole-body donation for research (the final two made possible through other donation agencies).
Please remind your audiences: Arizonans can join the DonateLifeAZ Registry when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID at an ADOT MVD or select authorized third-party office. They can also register online at DonateLifeAZ.org.
Donor Network of Arizona (DNA) fulfills the lifesaving and life-healing mission of organ, eye and tissue donation as the state’s federally designated organ procurement organization. Our work is made possible by the generosity of Arizona donors and their families. As also a tissue recovering agency and eye bank, DNA collaborates with health care and community partners to facilitate the gift of life. DNA is a vital link for transplantation and encourages Arizonans to sign up to be donors at DonateLifeAZ.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @DonateLifeAZ
more Photos of gase's car at Phoenix raceway:
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