SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) - The parents of Jody Smith, now, sit in front of his grave on their property. Jody may be gone, but he's still saving lives as an organ donor.
"My miracle didn't get answered, but God has a plan," Sharron Johnson, Jody's mother, said. "So, Jody went on to save others. For that, I'm grateful."
His liver was donated to a 46-year-old man, and his kidney was given to one who was just 35. Several other men, some with wives and children, were also saved.
That's something that caught the attention of NASCAR driver Joey Gase.
His parents said Jody Smith was a NASCAR fan. Now, his picture will be put on the LifeLink #52 Car during an upcoming Xfinity Series Race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"He would have been thrilled," Jody's stepfather Paul Johnson said.
His family is grateful for all the support from Gase, LifeLink and the community, but most of all wants families to never have to experience what they're going through.
"I can assure them," Sharron said. "It's a pain that is so unbearable that it will eat you alive."
A pain his family said will never go away.
"We're really proud of Jody and Nick," Paul said. "They were two of the finest boys you'd ever want to meet. This wasn't supposed to happen."
Gase will also hold an event on Thursday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., to explain how organ donation affected his life. It will take place at the Georgia Department Driver Services Henry County Customer Service Center.
Registered donors, recipients and their families will paint their hand prints on Gase's car.