BYU student killed in avalanche had a ‘heart of gold’

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Ashleigh Cox holds a Romanian baby at an Orthodox baptism. Cox died Sunday, Feb. 9, after sustaining injuries from an avalanche Saturday, Feb. 8.
Ashleigh Cox holds a Romanian baby at an Orthodox baptism. Cox died Sunday, Feb. 9, after sustaining injuries from an avalanche Saturday, Feb. 8. (Photo courtesy Cynthia Sun)

Described by friends as a “spiritual giant” and one who “radiates goodness” on her Facebook page, BYU student Ashleigh Cox, 21, died Sunday, Feb. 9, after being taken off life support at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Cox, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., was swept by an avalanche into a stream while snowshoeing in Tibble Fork Reservoir on Saturday, Feb. 8, with friends. She was buried under snow and water for more than 40 minutes before rescuers were able to retrieve her.

“She had such conviction,” said Cynthia Sun of Snohomish, Wash., of Cox’s determination to follow Jesus Christ and succeed. “She knew her potential. She really wanted to be a mom. She worked really hard.”

Sun, who graduated from BYU in December in human development, met Cox in a Romanian class in preparation for an internship program in Romania. Interning in Romania was life-changing for Cox, Sun said.

“Ashleigh said she learned to love someone who could never give anything back,” Sun said of Cox’s work in the Romanian orphanages.

Cox witnessed the passing of a Romanian orphan, which was defining moment for her Sun said.

BYU student Ashleigh Cox, pictured here during in Romania, died after injuries sustained in an avalanche. Photo courtesy Cynthia Sun.
BYU student Ashleigh Cox, pictured here in Romania, died after injuries sustained in an avalanche. (Photo courtesy Cynthia Sun)

“She had a heart of gold and was always kind and sensitive to those around her,” said Matt Porter, a friend of Cox. “She was truly a remarkable individual.”

Cox was not only kind but had a competitive side as well.

“Ashleigh loved playing Bananagrams. I hated playing with her because she would always barely beat me,” said Porter, an economics major at BYU–Idaho from Alpine.

Cox left a legacy of service and of love, Sun said.

“She was the best example of Christlike love. She did it by word and by deed,” Sun said. “You could see it.”

Cox is survived by her parents and four siblings. Funeral services have not been announced.

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