The legacy of a young South Surrey man who died seven weeks ago doing what he loved will live on.
Donations in memory of 27-year-old Ben Trompetter have surpassed $9,000 – nearly half of what his mom hopes to raise by April.
The funds, said Tara Trompetter, will go towards projects that benefit children living in Thai orphanages.
“He always put the kids first, he always took the time,” Tara said, explaining how the choice of where to invest the funds was made.
“For me, doing this trust… it’s keeping what he loved alive for the rest of our lifetime. We can continue doing what he wanted.”
Ben spent much of his last four years as a guide in Thailand, and many photos that have been shared with his family since his death Aug. 17 have featured the children he interacted with there.
Tara said Ben always made sure that every child he met felt important, and was included in whatever activities were going on. The passion, she said, was born of his own experiences growing up.
He once told his mom, “I know what it’s like to be the one that’s not picked,” she said.
Ben died after free-climbing a cliff northeast of Pemberton to jump into Anderson Lake. It was an activity he developed a passion for while in Thailand. Searchers told his mom it wasn’t the jump that killed her son, but the glacial temperature of the water he jumped into.
Tara hopes to collect $20,000 by April; the money will be used to build things such as bathrooms in the orphanages, she said.
Donations to date have arrived from all over the world, in varying amounts. Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to make their cheque out to ‘Tyler Trompetter, in trust to Benjamin Alan Trompetter,’ and mail it to 108-15558 16A Ave., Surrey, BC V4A 1T3. Tax receipts will be issued.
Family and friends also hope that a celebration of Ben’s birthday will further spread the message to ‘Live like Ben, love like Ben.’
Trompetter and Ben’s siblings, Tyler and Meghan, along with about a dozen close friends, spent Sept. 16 – Ben’s 28th birthday – on a sailboat in the Georgia Strait.
The group set off from Saltspring Island after writing private messages to Ben that were rolled together, tied with a ribbon and sealed in a bottle along with one of the red plastic wristbands that were created in Ben’s memory.
The captain – who took the group out at a significantly reduced rate after learning what they were doing – guided the vessel into the currents, where Tara set the bottle adrift.
She hopes whoever finds it, wherever it washes ashore, will read the messages and be inspired by who Ben was.
“(I’m) hoping that perhaps it could change their life in some way and they could live like Ben,” she said.
Since Ben died, Tara has received more than 300 cards from people who were touched by her son and how he lived his life. Many referred to Ben as their best friend.
Knowing the impact he had makes the pain of losing him easier to bear, she said.
“He just meant so much to so many,” she said. “I’m so proud of him. I think that’s what eases my grief.”
For more information on the trust fund or to request ‘Live like Ben. Love like Ben’ bracelets – donations for the bracelets will benefit the trust fund – email email@example.com or Ben@beachtravellers.com