ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A family is counting their blessings after the youngest member’s brush with death. This past weekend they celebrated alongside several of the men and women who helped bring her back to life.
The Frese family was visiting family when 22-month-old Lorren went missing. After a search of the property, the toddler was found face-down in a pond. Miraculously, Lorren survived. Yet, weeks in the hospital meant her two big sisters missed their birthdays. On Sunday, firefighters and first responders held a party for the two girls and celebrated Lorren’s life.
Face painting, a bounce house, finger painting, by all appearances, it’s a typical children’s party. But there’s nothing typical about the circumstances surrounding these festivities or the youngest little girl they’re celebrating.
“Legally, she was dead,” recalls BCFD Firefighter Richard Healy.
Station 30 and a number of their fellow first responders gathered with Gracie and Lacie to celebrate their belated birthdays and to welcome home 22-month-old Lorren, who almost didn’t make it to her second birthday.
You can hear the urgency in the 911 call from September 30.
“Bernalillo County 911, what’s the address of your emergency?” asked dispatcher Ian Davis.
“My daughter is drowning, please hurry!” answered Lorren’s Mother Julia Frese.
“My mom has a big bay window and my stepdad was pulling her out of the pond,” said Frese. “There was no life in her… I didn’t even know how to cry for hours afterwards. I couldn’t cry. I know that sounds awful as a mother but I couldn’t. I just stood there screaming her name, pressing my fingers into my forehead.”
Davis immediately sent firefighters to the scene before talking the family through CPR.
“Had he not been there, I wouldn’t have remembered what to do,” said Frese.
Moments later, BCSO deputies showed up to help. Soon after, firefighters from Station 30 arrived on scene.
“We checked for a pulse. There was no pulse, no breathing,” said Healy. “A lot goes through your head at that point, all your training starts kicking in.”
Healy helped load Lorren into the ambulance and continued to work on her all the way to the hospital.
“We have what we call a look of death and when we see that it’s kind of hopeless,” Healy said.
“Did she ever have that look of death?” asked KRQE News 13.
“Oh yeah. She did,” said Healy.
But Healy and fellow firefighters never gave up.
“If it was my kid, that’s what I’d want my brothers and sisters to do for me,” said Healy.
“The first responders…They began our story of success,” said Lorren’s Father Cody Frese.
Five minutes after they reached the ER, firefighters found a pulse.
“It was…,” Julia Frese paused. “A relief. A huge, huge relief.”
Lorren was on life support for 13 days. She was so close to death, her little sister kissed her good-bye.
On the 16th day, Lorren was released from the hospital, dubbed by many as a miracle.
“The doctors even said they have no medical explanation for why she’s here,” said Frese. “My faith has never been stronger.”
“I’m glad we brought her back and she’s able to enjoy life now,” said Healy.
The family stressed how important faith played in their journey. While they believe first responders brought their little girl back, they tell News 13 there was no explanation for her incredible turn around in the hospital. In fact, doctors thought she’d be brain dead.
Julia Frese says she believes her daughter’s recovery is due to prayer.
Representatives with BCFD say the party was also for first responders. They say calls like this one don’t always end in success. It’s why these memories are important for first responders who must deal with tragedy on a regular basis.