Jason Ray was a 21-year-old honor student at the University of North Carolina who was known around campus as the mascot for the school's basketball team. On March 23, 2007, Jason was in New Jersey for a big game. A few hours before it started, he was walking along the shoulder of a busy highway when he was struck by a car.
Jason was rushed to a New Jersey hospital with severe head trauma. His parents, Charlotte and Emmitt, hurried from North Carolina to be with their son, but doctors told them there was no sign of brain activity. "His head was really swollen," Charlotte says. "He had his eyes shut, and his hands were just laying there. I picked them up, and they were warm. I just couldn't let go of his hand."
Three days after the accident, Jason was pronounced dead—but the impact he would have on other people's lives had just begun.