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CMU students and police saved Christyna Davis’ life at orientation.

‘Thank you for saving my life.’

Quick action by CMU students and police helped one student survive cardiac arrest

Contact: Ari Harris

​Christyna Davis has done many things to prepare for her first year at Central Michigan University.

The incoming freshman from Yale, Michigan, reached out to her future roommate, investigated classes and researched student activities. She picked out accessories to deck out her room in Sweeney Hall, and watched several videos to prepare for the excitement of Leadership Safari.

She's eager to become a CMU Chippewa.

But before she began her first class, there was one last thing she needed to do: thank the people who saved her life.

"Our daughter is coming to the school that saved her life." – Amy Davis

Lifesavers luncheon

Davis and her family recently came to campus to thank the students and CMU police officers who took quick action to help her when she collapsed at orientation May 31.

"If not for the students, staff and officers who responded, Christyna would not be alive today. Our daughter is coming to the school that saved her life. We feel safe knowing that she'll be surrounded by people that care about her," said Davis' mother, Amy.

Davis had been participating in a cup-stacking game onstage, part of a series of high-energy games that had other incoming students excited and cheering. When she fell down, CMU senior Tiana Coles was among several students who reacted quickly to help.


Tiana Coles, left, responded quickly to help Christyna Davis when she collapsed.

Coles, a special education major from Ann Arbor, Michigan, was working as a student team orientation mentor for Team Gold. Thanks to a part-time job as a home health care provider, she is certified in first aid, CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators.

"Our first thought was that she had fainted, but when we realized she wasn't breathing, we began CPR immediately," Coles said.

As Coles and another person administered aid, other orientation mentors immediately called 911, located Davis' mother, cleared the auditorium and calmed concerned students.

"We saw that someone needed help, and we took action. It is what we're trained to do, and it's something that I wanted to do to help a fellow student," Coles said.

CMU police arrived within minutes and took over emergency care until the arrival of an ambulance.

Culture of caring

CMU's Take Care initiative encourages students to help each other. Students are advised to quickly call 911 in an emergency, to speak up when someone needs help and to avoid being a bystander.


Several other CMU students were recognized for their role in the lifesaving event.

"Any student can call 911 and get help at any time. We are blessed in this area to have the resources that we have," said CMU Police Officer Chris Pryor.

CMU is served by five local law enforcement offices, including the Mount Pleasant Police Department and Isabella County Sheriff's Department. On-campus calls to 911 are directed to CMU police, while off-campus calls connect to Isabella County Central Dispatch. 

Davis remembers nothing of the incident — only waking up on her 18th birthday in a hospital bed. She was diagnosed with a heart condition that can cause sudden fatal cardiac arrest. Her doctors told her most young people do not survive the first attack and that the help she received on campus saved her life.

While she continues to see a doctor for ongoing care, Davis wants to focus on beginning a great year at CMU.

"This hasn't damped my enthusiasm at all," she said.

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