JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

NASCAR driver Joey Gase lost his mother to a sudden brain aneurysm in 2011 and knew how important it was to her to donate her organs.

Gase spent Wednesday morning surprising patients, signing autographs and remembering his mother Mary Jo at Niswonger Children's Hospital.

"That was pretty cool," says patient Chloe.

During his tours, Gase says he makes it point to let people know just how important organ donation is to his family.

"If it wasn't for awareness, a lot of people wouldn't know about organ donation. There's still a lot of people that don't, so the more awareness we can get out there, the more donors we can get and the more lives we can save," says Gase.

Wednesday, he presented the Mary Jo Gase Volunteer Appreciation Award to John Caso of Johnson City, who has been waiting for a heart, and also helps to raise organ donation awareness. Gase says spending his time off the track is a great way to brighten someone's day.

"When we make them smile, we know that we're making their day just a little bit better," adds Gase.

Joey Gase will race in car number 52 on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.