When Isaiah Cormier was taken to the burn unit at UC Health in Aurora, Colorado, he was grateful his love was by his side—not only for her support during his miraculously short recovery from a lightning strike, but for saving his life.
Cormier and his girlfriend of two years, Juliette Moore, also 18, were camping in Nederland, southwest of Boulder County, when he was struck by lightning while standing next to their tent on Saturday, July 7.
“I saw a really bright flash of light,” Moore told a local news station, explaining she ran out of the tent and saw her boyfriend face down on the ground.
Thankfully, she was prepared.
“I checked for breathing and I checked for a pulse but I didn’t see either,” Moore said.
After administering two rounds of CPR, Cormier started breathing.
“His heart stopped, but by the grace of God I was able to resuscitate him using CPR,” the Fairview High School graduate wrote in an Instagram post.
Moore then called 911, and with the aid of another camper, managed to get him into her car and drive to a nearby highway for help.
By the time an ambulance arrived, Cormier had started to gain consciousness and couldn’t believe what had happened.
He kept saying things like “no way” and “that’s ridiculous,” the couple told Humanity in a phone interview.
On their way to the hospital, it became clear that Cormier was going to be alright, thanks to the CPR.
“I knew that he felt like himself because I could hear the EMT laughing with him in the back,” Moore said. “I knew that at the very least, he was himself.”
Once at UC Health in Aurora, Colorado, doctors quickly determined that he was OK, and the Boulder High School graduate was released less than two days later.
“There was nothing wrong with me physically other than some stiffness in my neck and back, which they told me was because when you get struck by lightning, it’s like an extreme workout in half a second … cause the amount of voltage going through your body makes all your muscles tense up,” Cormier said.
“There is no doubt that I would be dead. I was not breathing,” he said. “It stopped my heart but thankfully Juliette was there.”
According to a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), cardiopulmonary arrest is the major cause of death in lightning injuries.
“I was very very lucky to be walking out of there at all and even more lucky to be walking out perfectly fine less than two days later,” he said.
Moore said she coaches for a youth rowing team, and her job requires her to be CPR and First Aid Certified.
“I’ve been meaning to take it for a long time just really never gotten around to it,” Moore said. Then just one month before the camping trip, she got CPR certified.
CPR Saved His Life
“What a difference having that training can make,” Moore said. “I can’t imagine seeing Isaiah in that position and feeling helpless.”
“It’s kind of crazy,” Cormier said. “I’m not an extremist in any way … there was no reason for what happened to happen but it did.”
Both Cormier and Moore agree that having the lifesaving skills—but not needing them—is a very good thing. Now they’re hosting a CPR training event for their friends, family, and teams.
The pair are on the same youth rowing team that Moore coaches. They met through a mutual friend on their team when they went skiing for a weekend.
“We’re both night owls and stayed up very late talking,” Moore said.
The couple have been dating for two and a half years and exchanged promise rings on their one year anniversary.
“The one that she’s wearing is actually the one that my dad gave to my mom when they were our age after they had been dating for a year,” Cormier said.
They’ll both be attending Montana State University in Bozeman in the fall.