As hard as it is for me to write about a night over five years ago another family has a harder story to tell. Today, I got to stand in the back of the Indiana State Museum and listen as for the third year in a row the IMS got together with the Indiana Donor Network / Donate Life Indiana to champion the cause of organ donation.
Going 100+ mph is going to carry with it the looming threat of “it could happen”, and the unfortunate stories of when it did happen. In 2015, the racing world was heartbroken when Justin Wilson suffered a fatal injury at Pocono. That following year, for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, Justin’s brother Stefan ran in a car whose livery championed the cause of the Indiana Donor Network. It was the first year of the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign, and those of us who were advocates were thrilled at the opportunity to get our message out on a larger stage. ( advocates for the Indiana Donor Network are a cross-section of those affected by the cause including recipients, recipient families, and donor families)
Tragedy would strike within months of the 100th running when Bryan Clauson succumbed to injuries at a sprint race. His family set a goal to have two-hundred individuals register to be organ donors prior to Bryan’s memorial. They had 750 individuals register on the day of his memorial service, and within a month after Bryan’s passing, there were 3,761 people who registered. For the 101st running, again the Indiana Donor Network was working at the IMS to increase the awareness of organ donation, in our grey shirts honors Bryan Clausen.
This year though, Pippa Mann will drive with the Donor Life Indiana colors on her car. In September of 2017, Pippa joined with Driven 2 Save Lives / Donate Life when she was racing with the International Motor Sports Association Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca At that time, Pippa worked with the Donor Network West in California with on-site registration with both she and fellow female racer Shea Holbrook. This year Pippa will be championing the cause throughout May, including visiting schools to educate children on the importance of organ donation and having that discussion with their family about their choices.
In another beautiful tribute, Stefan Wilson’s car for the Indianapolis 500 will feature the Indiana Donor Network and the Driven 2 Save Lives Campaign. Those of us who champion the cause of organ donation now have two drivers to cheer for. I suppose I’ll let my Dad cheer for Stefan – I get to cheer for Pippa!
If you’re already a registered donor, thank you. If you’re not – for more information please visit Driven2SaveLives.org or you can send me an email at Molly@FastCarsFastGirls.comI’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the process.
(and FYI – there are multiple branches of the organ donation set up including Driven2SaveLives, Indiana Donor Network, and Donate Life, but they’re all under the large umbrella so you can support them all!)