East Tennessee family honored at NASCAR All-Star Race


BRISTOL, Tenn. (WATE)- Luther King had attended NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway many times before, but this time was different.

This is the first year that the NASCAR All-Star race was held at Bristol Motor Speedway and the first year the Davis’ watched as their son was in the race instead of alongside them.

Nathan Davis was “bigger than life” and someone who truly loved life. When he turned sixteen, Julia Davis, his mother, says he chose to become an organ donor. At the age of 23, he became one. Luther became very ill and his kidneys started failing. Nathan wanted to help his dad and started losing weight, unbeknownst to Julia, so he could become a living donor. On January 8, 2019, their lives would change.

Nathan was in a car accident.

After being in the hospital for almost five days he was pronounced brain dead. The Davis’ knew he wanted to donate life. When the Tennessee Donor Services informed the family that if one of Nathan’s kidneys was a match for Luther they could have it.

On January 15, 2019, Nathan saved his dad’s life.

One year and six months later, Luther is doing great.

The Davis’ volunteer for Tennessee Donor Services and spread awareness to donating life in honor of Nathan. “The life that you save may not be somebody’s that’s dear to you but it’s somebody that’s dear to somebody,” says Julia alongside Luther knowing first-hand how donating organs can save lives as their son saved three others, “a lot can be done in the span of a lifetime that’s expanded by an organ donation.”

Joey Gase, a racecar driver who competes in the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity races, knows first-hand how impactful choosing to donate life is too. The NASCAR driver’s mother, Mary Jo, donated her organs after passing away when Gase was 18-years-old.

At the All-Star race, drivers repped unique paint schemes focused around their sponsors. Gase, sponsored by Red Rock Secured for the All-Star Open, honored Nathan and Luther Davis on the TV Panel of No.51.

Nathan and Luther Davis honored on Joey Gase’s car

Billy Jarvis, an organ recipient, with the Tennessee Donor Services coordinated the event. The moment came full-circle for the Davis’ as Luther took Nathan to races at Bristol and other tracks growing up.

“Its kind of like going home,” says Julia holding back tears, “He [Nathan] was bigger than life and this is kind of a bigger than life moment, so this is pretty cool.”

The Davis’ continue to advocate for donating life, finding comfort knowing their son’s goal was met by donating his organs and saving lives, and hope their family’s story will inspire others to consider choosing to become organ donors.

“He had a heart bigger than you can imagine, nothing would have made him happier than to know that people are flourishing and able to be happy and healthy, and continue their hopes and dreams through the choice that he made,” says Julia.

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