NASCAR driver and former Colts TE’s family connect for purpose
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – If you kept an eye on the 15 car of young Joey Gase in the 24th Brickyard 400 Sunday, you may have noticed a special picture on his car.
His sponsor is the Lisa Colagrossi Foundation, helping to shed light on brain aneurysms. Colagrossi was a TV reporter in New York who recently died from the affliction. Joey’s mother also fell victim to an aneurysm in 2011.
The face of another aneurysm victim, former Colts tight end Konrad Reuland adorns the hood of Gase’s car.
Reuland’s parents are in Indiana for the first time, connecting with Gase through the foundation. They’re hoping their son and Gase can team up to help save lives through awareness after seeing Konrad lose his life last December.
Reuland had two short stints with the Colts, including last summer, when he ended up playing in three pre-season games and catching a pass before being released in August.
“We’re connected in many different ways,” said Gase about Reuland. “We’re connected on the brain aneurysm side and the organ donation side. Both Konrad and my mom were organ donors.”
Reuland, who played football at both Notre Dame and Stanford donated his heart and left kidney to Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew.
“It makes it real,” said Reuland’s father Ralf. “Sometimes we try to escape reality, but you see it on the hood there, his handsome face, the length of his life and it makes you sad in many ways, but we’re very honored too that he’s on this race car and hopefully helping save some lives from brain aneurysms.”
“He was in camp at this time last year and he was here,” said Reuland’s mother Mary. “We were hoping to come watch him play football, but obviously we’re watching him in a different sport right now, but it’s sad. I told Joey he’s got an angel looking out for him right now.”