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Donate Life Month: Teen who drowned saves lives after death

Donate Life Month: Teen who drowned saves lives after death
Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 12:14:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Five years later, 18-year-old Victoria Arias’ death lives on in her parent’s minds.

“We just knew it was her time to go,” said Mike Arias, Victoria's father.

In July of 2017, Victoria drowned while taking a routine swim in her family’s backyard pool. Her mother found her unconscious at the bottom of the water.

“Lorena came running into the house yelling and screaming," Mike Arias said. "I knew exactly what happened.”

Victoria dreamed of saving lives as a trauma room surgeon. When the Donor Network of Arizona asked the Arias family if they’d like to donate Victoria’s organs, the answer was clear.

“There was just a sense of peace and calm that came over me when we got asked that question and I just thought that was Victoria saying that’s what she wanted,”

said Lorena Arias, Victoria's mother.

Victoria donated her heart, lungs, kidneys, and pancreas, saving a total of four lives. Her parents later received appreciation letters from the recipients.

“It’s very special for us because now still people will come up to us and show us their license 'Look and there’s the green heart on the license, I'm an organ donor' and some of them will share, 'I did this because of Victoria',” Mike Arias said.

The Arias family started a foundation under Victoria’s name to give scholarships to high school students in Tucson. This year, they're giving $52,000 to four applicants.

The family still doesn't know why Victoria drowned. But they do know that her death had a purpose.

“She has a bigger job to do up there," Mike Arias said. "She’s busy, she is busy.”

Arizona had more organ donors in 2021 than ever before. But the Donor Network of Arizona says there are still more than 1,500 Arizonans on the wait list.

The Victoria Teresa Arias Memorial Foundation's next gala is at Casino Del Sol on June 17. Click here to purchase tickets.

Arizonans can join the DonateLifeAZ Registry when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID at an ADOT MVD or select authorized third-party office. They can also register online at [].