Losing a child is something every parent fears, but one local family has found a way to turn their tragedy into lifesaving blessings for others through the Iowa Donor Network.
On April 9, 2015 five children were killed in an automobile accident near Urbana, including three siblings, a cousin and a family friend.
“We have realized how many people they have helped in losing them,” said Tia Tuttle, mother of the three siblings. “We feel it’s important to spread the word and get people to become donors. We have met a lot of people who have become donor recipients and learned how it’s changed their lives. That’s why we put this race on each year in memory of them as our entire family was huge into IMCA racing, while promoting Iowa Donor Network.”
The five will be honored today at the annual Urbana 5 Memorial races at Benton County Speedway in Vinton. Gates open at 3 p.m. and racing starts at 5.
All five of the children — 20 year-old Nikki Jacobson, 19 year-old Quentin Ary, 17 year-old Triston Randle, 14 year-old Hunter Tuttle and 12 year-old Zoey Tuttle — were avid IMCA race fans and donors for the Iowa Donor Network. They contributed bone marrow, plasma, eyes and other life-changing items after their deaths.
“You don’t realize how much you can help somebody else, how many other people you can help by yourself,” Tuttle said. “My three kids have helped over 140 people. That’s a lot and it’s changed peoples’ lives. We’ve received letters from families on how much it’s changed them. To me if a loved one can’t stay with you, let’s leave them with everyone else and help them live a better life.”
The proceeds on the night will go to the Iowa Donor Network with photos of past donation recipients spread around the track.
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There also will be prizes for kids and drawings for adults, according to track announcer Jerry Mackey.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the fans to come out and learn more about the Iowa Donor Network while honoring those kids that were avid race fans that loved being at the racetrack,” Mackey said. “These women are very dedicated to this cause and they have created this awesome fundraiser. It’s going to be a really special night.”
The car count is expected to easily exceed it’s normal 100 total with SportsMods racing for $1,550, Modifieds chasing $1,000 and Stock Cars going after $700, all incredibly larger than normal first-place purses.
“This event will lead us into the second half of the season,” Mackey said. “We have all the makings for a good finish to the 2020 year after a very rocky start with COVID-19 and the weather.”