Justin Wilson is not a household name in the world of sports entertainment. But his act of donating organs this past week should put him among the greats.
Wilson, a part-time driver in the Verizon IndyCar Racing League, died tragically Sunday, Aug. 23, during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono International Raceway when debris from a wreck by another driver hit Wilson in the head on lap 180 of the 200-lap race. Race commentators estimate the nosepiece from Sage Karam’s disintegrating racer weighed close to 20 lbs. Indy cars can reach spends of over 200 miles per hour.
Wilson, who lived outside Denver in Longmont, Colo. and a native of Great Britain, was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa., but never regained consciousness and died the following day. He is survived by wife Julia and two young children.
As the racing community mourns the death of the likeable driver (he placed second in an Indy Car race at a race track in Ohio the week before and drove for Andretti Motorsports), the Wilson family announced this week that Justin had signed an organ donor card. As a result, six organs were procured for people in need.
A statement released by the Philadelphia-based Gift of Life Organ Donor Program said, “Justin made the courageous decision to be an organ donor with the indication on his drivers license. This selfless act of giving by Justin and his family, allowed six organs to be transplanted, resulting in many individuals receiving the ‘gift of life.’ His family has been supportive of his decision and has helped to raise more awareness for organ and tissue donation.
“The decision to give others a second chance at life, as demonstrated by Justin and his family, and thousands of other donors and their families across the country each year, continues to give hope to the more than 123,000 men, women and children who are currently waiting for their life saving organ transplant. We encourage everyone to take Justin’s lead and sign up to be an organ and tissue donor.”
For more information on organ and tissue donation, visit Donate Life America at www.donatelife.net.