‘Walking miracle’ and classmate who helped save her will graduate together

OGDEN, Utah — Halfway through their senior year at Weber State University, classmates Audrey Young and Allie Green faced a life-and-death scenario that brought what they had learned in the classroom to reality.

On what seemed like a normal day last November, Young and Green took a break from studying to meet for lunch near campus. The two had forged a friendship during their time in the respiratory therapy program

Green arrived early at the restaurant and waited inside. As Young arrived and pulled open the glass door, she collapsed. 

Green and two bystanders rushed to Young’s aid, turning her onto her back. “She was not breathing at all,” Green said. That’s when her training kicked in.

When they realized Young didn’t have a pulse, Green said one of the “good Samaritans” began CPR, but the execution seemed off and Green’s training prompted her to step in.

“There’s a technique to do it,” she said, referring to the rate and depth of compressions to ensure complete recoil. “My gut told me I needed to give feedback.” 

Green soon took over, performing CPR until first responders arrived. After two electrical shocks to revive her pulse, Young was rushed to the hospital.

Young recalls feeling like she was going to pass out, then everything went black. “Next thing I remember is waking up to bright lights all around me, my chest hurt really bad and it was hard to breathe,” she said. 

Young spent two weeks in the hospital, part of that time on a ventilator. She learned she had gone into cardiac arrest due to a rare genetic heart condition called catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, or CPVT. 

For a while, Young couldn’t talk due to the breathing tube, but she was given a pen and paper to communicate. The first thing she wrote: “Allie OK?” 

About a week later, Young and Green reunited in the hospital. “It was so good to see her after everything that happened,” Young said. “I was so incredibly grateful because she helped save my life.”

Green said she thinks of that day often, and has learned the value of being prepared. She recommends people get CPR certified because “anything can happen to anyone.” 

Young now has a metal implant in her chest that will deliver a shock if she ever goes into cardiac arrest again. 

“She is literally a walking miracle, which definitely can be attributed to the fast action of her friend who knew what to do,” said Sherri Vasas, assistant professor of respiratory therapy. “Both Audrey and Allie were greatly affected by this, yet remained top-level students.”

Both are set to graduate this month and hope to jump right into their careers. 

Green’s interest in respiratory therapy started during her time on the WSU cross country and track teams, when she discovered she had exercise-induced asthma. “I wasn’t performing at the level I wanted to be, so I chose respiratory therapy to learn more about that condition and help myself run better,” Green said. 

Young, who had always wanted to pursue healthcare, enrolled after a friend told her Weber State “has one of the best respiratory therapy programs in the country.” 

“This has given me more perspective on what it’s like to be a patient,” Young said. “I hope that in my career I can help patients who are going through a similar experience, so they know they’re not alone.” 

Young said she wants to work in neonatal care, while Green hopes to work in adult critical care. Both said they feel career-ready due to their time at WSU.

“Weber State literally developed my skills where I was able to help save her life,” Green said. “I definitely do feel prepared for the future.”

The friends said they hope their careers find them working together someday. 

“I have a renewed look on life,” Young said. “I almost died, so now I want to make the most out of life, take all the opportunities that come to me.”


Bryan Magaña, public relations director
801-626-7948, bryanmagana@weber.edu


Bryan Magaña, public relations director
801-626-7948, bryanmagana@weber.edu