Tanya Trimborn remembers a day, years ago, when she took her young son, Cai Benavides, with her to renew her driver’s license. When he asked what the orange dot meant, she explained that meant if she should pass away, her organs would be donated to someone in need. “He understood that you can’t take your body with you when you die,” she says.
In October 2017, 22-year-old Cai—who had struggled with addiction but was on the road to recovery—proudly showed Tanya his driver’s license. “He showed me his license, and it had the orange dot on it. He said, ‘Mom, look what I did,’” she says. “I told him I was proud of him and that it was a good thing that he was doing.”
Sadly, on Feb. 9, 2018, Tanya received a call that Cai had relapsed and was hospitalized for a drug overdose. Three days later, he was declared brain dead and on February 14—National Donor Day—Cai donated his kidneys and liver. “My one true love—my only child—became a donor on National Donor Day,” she says. “I’m very proud of him. He touched so many people. His organ donation made me feel like I had a chance to celebrate something beautiful.”
Now, Tanya encourages others to have conversations about organ and tissue donation with their families. “It’s important to have those simple conversations with your family,” she says. “If you can help somebody on your way out, isn’t it better to do that? My son understood that, and I understand that.”
Tanya also gives back as a Versiti volunteer and shares her story to ensure Cai is never forgotten. “I do things to honor him every day. I’m changed forever because of it,” she says. “It’s something that I can celebrate and be proud of for him. It makes me feel that his life was for a purpose.”
People need people, make a difference in someone’s life by donating blood.
We must rely on each other for the gift of blood, and patients in your community rely on the generosity of Versiti’s blood donors to help. Please consider scheduling an appointment to donate. If this is your first time, donating blood is quick, easy and relatively painless. And, it is a great way to give back and help patients in your community.
View our Blood Donation FAQs for more information.