Justin Wilson's example is one to follow to save lives

The Morning Call | Bill White

The organs of driver Justin Wilson, who died from a head injury at the Aug. 23 Pocono IndyCar 500, were able to save the lives of six people. (Derik Hamilton / AP)

The headline was one of the few bright spots in a depressing series of stories about the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in the aftermath of last weekend's Pocono Raceway event.

"Six lives saved by Wilson's organ donations," it said.

The story was prompted by a tweet from Justin's brother, Stefan, also a race car driver. "Justin Wilson saved 6 lives today," he wrote on Twitter. "He just keeps setting the bar higher. Keep Julia & the girls in your prayers."

Tragic as Wilson's story is, his high-profile case offers a good opportunity to remind people about how important organ donation is.

"People donate every day," said John Green, community relations director for the region's Gift of Life Donor Program, "but when you have someone like Justin who is high profile and has a large fan base very loyal to him, when they see his example, it gets them to talk and share his legacy. It certainly increases awareness of donation."

He said Justin had put his organ donation wishes on his driver's license, and his family respected them. "From what I've read of Justin, he was a giving man." Continue reading