A drag racer can drive a quarter-mile in under 4 seconds. Cassie Pickens hopes to spread the word about organ donation just as fast.
Donate Life Nebraska and Donate Life Iowa will team up today with the Mid-America Motorplex in Pacific Junction, Iowa to host the first Donate Life H.E.R.O. (helping everyone receive organs) drag race.
Pickens, a junior at Millard North, came up with the idea after two family members received organ transplants.
“Unless you’re directly in contact with (organ donation), it’s not something you hear about a lot,” Pickens said. “And our whole family does drag racing, so I thought it would be cool to share that with the rest of the community.”
Cassie’s dad, Gregg Pickens is a second-generation drag racer and received a kidney from his youngest brother in 2001. Her second cousin received a liver in 2010.
“Cassie reached out to us with the suggestion, and she was really the one who took off and ran with it,” said Lisa Carmichael, president of Donate Life Nebraska, who is on the waiting list for a heart.
The event provides the organization an opportunity to spread awareness about organ donation outside a trade show or health fair setting.
“It’s an audience that we haven’t previously been in front of, so that aspect was compelling,” Carmichael said.
Donate Life is a national nonprofit with state chapters throughout the country. Its primary purpose is to spread awareness and increase organ donation. A representative from the Donate Life will be at the race to answer questions.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 115,000 people are on a waiting list to receive an organ transplant, and each organ donor can save up to eight lives. Race organizers are expecting more than 100 drivers from around the Midwest and as many as 500 spectators.
Gates will open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Those 12 and under are free.
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