This was at a Bat show… I spent the ENTIRE day next door, at the Conservation Ambassadors Booth, when I was supposed to be helping my mom. Anyways, I was holding Maya the monkey who was fed hamburgers since she was a baby and was 3X smaller than monkey’s her breed.

Growing up, I wanted to make the world a better place. And I dreamed of having my own coffee shop someday.

But everything changed in a single day, when, at work in a Subway in San Luis Obispo, I collapsed from cardiac arrest.

I woke up in the hospital from a coma that lasted ten days. I was sixteen years old.

Ivy's Story

Ivy Alvarado, 16, July 20th, 2008

Hi. I’m Ivy Alvarado, and now I am 28 years old. My dreams weren’t  shattered the day I collapsed, but they were postponed—until now.  Everything in my life so far has led me to my new, revised dream—to have  a vegetarian food truck: Plant Ivy: Better Burgers for a Healthy Planet, which will allow me to support myself and help others.

Some doctors thought it wouldn’t be possible, but after my coma, I managed to finish high school and take classes at Cuesta College. With the support of family, friends, and the community, I’ve spent ten years in difficult sometimes painful— physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Visit

I continue to heal and improve, but much of my therapy is not covered by insurance. That’s why it’s all the more important for me to  establish a source of regular income.

I learned compassion early, from my mom, Melinda, a wildlife rehabilitator.
My dad, Frank, built a fueling station for my first car, so I could lower my carbon impact by running it on used veggie oil.
I wanted to help people less fortunate, so I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Something I’ll remember FOREVER BECAUSE I LOVED IT!!