Kearns said Ray’s family pledged to raise $1 million for the endowment fund.
“I would say they are somewhere between $350 to $400,000 toward the goal in the endowment fund,” Kearns said. “Mr. and Mrs. Ray have worked very hard.”
She said Ray did a lot in his lifetime.
“For a young man he had done an awful lot in his lifetime,” she said. “He had travelled Europe, he visited the Vatican, he was an exchange student abroad, he ran with the bulls in Pamplona. At 6’5, they say he was larger than life. He was a humanitarian.”
Kearns said the news of Ray’s donation raised global awareness for transplantation.
“Jason’s donation was highly publicized through ESPN and the Ray of Hope,” she said. “And the news of his donation actually increased people’s registration on the donor registry significantly.”
Around 46,000 people registered as donors across the world following Ray’s death, Kearns said.
David Erving is the recipient of Ray’s kidneys and pancreas. Erving said he will be forever thankful for Ray’s donation.
“I’m really lucky that I was able to get a chance to have a new life,” Erving said.
He said he holds Ray and the Ray family close to his heart.
“He means a whole lot to me,” Erving said. “When I met his family, it’s like I knew him forever. I send them cards and call them. I keep in contact every couple weeks.”
Emmitt Ray II, Jason Ray’s older brother, said he thinks his brother’s legacy will live on forever at UNC.
“The part that means the most to me is that Jason loved UNC-Chapel Hill,” Ray said. “He loved the school, he loved everything about Chapel Hill, and now he is going to have a permanent marker there on campus that reminds people of who he was.”
“I think he would have spent his whole life in Chapel Hill one way or another. This way he is a part of the campus forever.”