NASCAR driver honors Cosby teen, organ donor

Peter Patnaude with Joey Gase’s race car, bearing the likeness of his son, Tyler, who was killed in a car accident three years ago. JAMES HASKINS
With a knock at the door three years ago, Peter Patnaude’s life changed.

The date was April 25 – his daughter’s birthday – but the knock concerned his 18-year-old son Tyler. That evening, the car Tyler was riding in had struck a tree on Woodlake Village Parkway. The three other boys in the car were wounded; Tyler was killed. The Patnaudes were at the scene in minutes, and followed the ambulances to VCU Medical Center.

Since that evening, the Patnaudes have worked to honor the Cosby High senior, establishing the Tyler Patnaude Foundation to award service scholarships to incoming college freshmen and becoming active in Donate Life Virginia, the state’s registry for organ, eye and tissue donation. Last Thursday, to coincide with the anniversary of his death and National Donate Life Month, Cosby High School held a student assembly in tribute to Tyler. Speakers discussed the organ donor registry; Tyler’s father awarded two service scholarships; and students decorated a race car with painted hands, which Joey Gase drove in Saturday’s NASCAR race in memory of Tyler.

Tyler grew up with a grandfather who was the recipient of a donated kidney, and that helped make Tyler passionate about organ donation. As part of a government competition for teens when the family lived in Texas, he even proposed a law to the Texas state legislature that would make discussing organ donation a mandatory part of driver’s education classes. The Patnaudes knew their answer when asked about Tyler’s organs. Continue reading

You have the power to SAVE lives.  Register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor
Go to:   |   Social Media Declaration: #OrganDonor
To ensure your gift is honored, share your donation wishes with family and friends