Laguna Beach teacher survives coma, sees upswell of community support

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Bridget Beaudry Porter, a Laguna Beach High School teacher, in an undated photo with her son. Photo courtesy of GoFundMe

A Laguna Beach High School art teacher who reportedly experienced a medical emergency while behind the wheel in April has seen a GoFundMe campaign raise more than $20,000 to support her recovery.

Bridget Beaudry Porter was driving to work on April 21 when she suffered spontaneous cardiac arrest and crashed her car, according to a story shared by her sister on GoFundMe. Paramedics found her unresponsive and attempted to revive her at the scene. After undergoing heart surgery, Porter was in a coma for five days and has since woken up.

It appears that she’ll avoid needing a heart transplant but has used all of her sick days, the campaign states.

“Our District’s Human Resources department is in communication with Bridget to help her navigate this unfortunate incident. Unfortunately, we are not able to specifically comment on personnel matters but thank our incredible community for all of their support. We send out thoughts and prayers to Bridget and her family and wish her a speedy recovery,” Supt. Jason Viloria said in a statement.

Speaking through a teacher’s union representative, Porter declined to comment for this story.

As the mother of an 18-month-old son, Porter and her family’s experience of suddenly losing her income was “rough on them financially”, Porter’s friend Odile Dewar wrote. Porter is covered by district-provided health insurance until December, Dewar added.

“After that, I hope with all my heart that our tight-knit district will find ways to help her further! Bridget is a wonderful teacher and individual we all love,” Dewar wrote.

Porter has been an art teacher at Laguna Beach High School for the past 11 years. She currently teaches Advanced Placement 2D Art & Design, Advanced Placement Drawing, Art Production, and Art Entrepreneurship, according to the school website. She also collaborated with Laguna Beach Elementary schools on an art program for younger students.

“Bridget, you had a profound impact on our daughter Shea. You have such passion, heart, calm and kindness and your talent goes far beyond your skill as an artist, your ability to connect and influence others is immeasurable. We are sending our positivity and prayers your way,” Laguna Beach parent Tammy Skenderian said in a statement.

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