Lauren Kornacki learned CPR several times. For years, she's worked as a lifeguard. The 22-year-old just graduated from Mary Washington with a physics degree, but while looking for work, she decided to return to something familiar to earn a little money.
Two days ago, her supervisor held a review session on CPR skills. Saturday, Lauren used what she learned to save her father's life.
"I opened up his airway to make sure he could breathe and everything and at that point I'm just telling him, talking to him," said Lauren. "You can't leave me. Just stay with me. Keep breathing."
You see, Lauren's father, Alec, was working on his car, a BMW 525i. The jack slipped and the car fell on top of him. Lauren was on her way out the door when she came upon him, unconscious and crushed.
It happened Saturday on Lincolnshire Court near Old Nuckols Road.
"As I go to open the garage door I hear a primal scream, like…dial 911!" said Lauren's mother, Liz.
That scream was 22-year-old Lauren discovering her father.
"There was no tire," said Lauren. Seconds later, she did what most would consider unthinkable, she moved a car weighing a ton and a half off her father's body.
"I just lifted up kind of right here and just kind of threw it, shoved my body as hard as I could then I came back and dragged him out and started CPR," Lauren said. "It flashed like, I'm going to lose my dad." His eyes were open, he wasn't responding to me. I knew I had to get his heart beating again and I had to get him breathing."
And in that moment, with those skills and strength, she was the only person keeping her Daddy alive.
"I'm just telling him, talking to him. You can't leave me," said Lauren. "Just stay with me. Keep breathing."
Two days later, Alec Kornacki's other daughter, Allie, shared a video with us. Her father is still in the ICU, but walking and finally getting the chance to thank Lauren.
"I told him what happened," said Liz. "He just, the tears just come to his eyes. He said thank you for saving my life and she just smiled her blue eyed smile and that was it."
"Just seeing him move and breathing I literally just sat there and was watching his chest rise and that's when I lost it," said Lauren. "I just couldn't handle it."
Liz says Lauren is the reason Alec is alive. She says he was without oxygen and a heart beat for less than five minutes.
"She got his heart beating again and got him breathing again," said Liz. "So, she's it. He gave her life and then he gave her life. I am in awe of her. I am in awe of her. She is the day. She saved the day. I can't even tell you how proud I am of her."
Alec's doctors didn't want him to speak on camera just yet, because he's still in the ICU. He has several broken ribs, some numbness, and other fractures, but nothing that appears to be permanent damage.
He also asked us to share this statement: "I'm just so lucky and proud that I have daughters that can perform CPR and have the knowledge to save lives. I think it's an important skill for everyone to know and if it weren't for Lauren I would not be alive today."
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