Knightdale second-grade teacher credits students, coworkers for saving her life

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Knightdale teacher credits students, coworkers for saving her life
A teacher in Knightdale feels lucky to be alive after she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest in her second-grade classroom.

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A second-grade teacher is preparing to return to the classroom after more than a month. She went into cardiac arrest while teaching, and thanks to the quick action of students and co-workers, she feels lucky to be alive.

"I don't even have the words of the level of gratitude I feel," said Tanya Blue.

Blue had just started the school day at Thales Academy in Knightdale this past December when she collapsed in front of her second-graders.

"I remember wooziness quickly and then that's all I remember," said Blue.

Blue went into cardiac arrest.

I tell you the only thing going through my head was 'Tanya can't die.'
Wanda Evans, school administrator

Her students started yelling for help, and administrator Wanda Evans came rushing inside the classroom.

Evans found Blue lying face down on the ground. Her breathing was labored and she wasn't responsive.

Evans flipped Blue on her back and started performing CPR while other staffers called 911.

"I tell you the only thing going through my head was 'Tanya can't die,'" Evans said.

She tried to resuscitate her and then called out for a defibrillator.

All this commotion took place while parents of prospective students were on a tour.

By happenstance, two people in the crowd were WakeMed healthcare workers and they immediately jumped in.

WakeMed Lactation Consultant Nitaya Mackey was there with her husband.

Tanya Blue feels blessed because she said she knows the outcome could have been different.
Courtesy of Tanya Blue

"She was unresponsive with no pulse," said Mackey. "As a nurse, you never know when you're going to be needed, and I'm just thankful to God to have me in the right place at the right time."

Blue was eventually taken to WakeMed. She spent 10 days there before going home to continue recovering.

"When I tell you this is this is the woman that everybody loves to pieces. She is the kindest, most God-fearing woman you could ever meet. She will do anything for anybody," said Evans.

Blue said this past holiday was different.

She didn't have the energy to go all out but said at least her son was able to spend Christmas with her.

"I know that's all God putting people in place to help perform this miracle because I know that it could have been a different story," Blue said.

She said she was excited to go back to work Monday and finally see her students again.