Young Daughters Save Mother's Life During Hike in Oregon

It was a race two little girls will never forget a race to save their mom’s life. When a Washington mother went into respiratory failure after an asthma attack on a hike in Oregon, her 5- and 7-year-old daughters ran over 2 miles to find help, navigating a lakeside cliff and downed trees until they reached a ranger.

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Heather Conrad-Smith is now recovering and credits her daughters for saving her life. "It still blows me away my two girls saved my life," Conrad-Smith told KEPR of the harrowing rescue. "If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today."

It was supposed to be an effortless nature hike while on a family vacation, so the former nurse, who has asthma, decided not to bring her inhaler. She thought the pace of the hike would be easy, especially with her two young daughters, Ashleigh and Kelianne, in tow. 

But on the way back from their 10-mile loop, Conrad-Smith found herself short of breath. Her husband, Steve, carried her but knew he couldn’t get her the help she desperately needed in time. Suffering from respiratory failure, which limits oxygen passing from the lungs to the bloodstream, she needed help fast, so Conrad-Smith instructed her daughters to continue ahead on the trail and run for help.

With their family dog leading the way, the two girls swiftly guided each other over fallen trees and rocks, mindful of the nearby cliff with a lake below them. "We had to walk on the rocks and I went superquick, and I didn’t even fall," Kelianne told a KEPR reporter.

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After running for 2 miles, Kelianne and Ashleigh spotted a ranger, who called for help. Firefighters quickly rescued Heather, thanks to precise location details from Conrad-Smith’s daughters.

"They’re my heroes, and I will forever be in debt to them for saving my life," said Conrad-Smith. (Conrad-Smith had not responded to Yahoo! Shine's request for comment at press time.)

Asthma, a respiratory disease with no cure, affects about 25 million people, and that number is growing each year. The total number of people with asthma in the United States increased by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Doctors are still monitoring Conrad-Smith's condition, since she has relapsed once since her trip to Oregon. Still, she said, she is grateful for her amazing team of first responders.

“It’s just mind-blowing," Conrad-Smith told the news station. "I am so blessed to have this family. I don't know any other children that would run that far and go get help."

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