ER nurse gives back to first responders after they saved her life

A medical emergency during a summer swim almost ended a woman's life. Now, she's working to make sure others have a chance at surviving the close call she did if they're ever faced with the same situation.

Alicia Bravo is celebrating Christmas with her family this weekend and what is under the tree doesn't even scratch the surface of what they're thankful for this season.

On July 1, Bravo went for a swim in Lake Ripley. She was training for a triathlon with her family alongside in the boat.

"I was swimming and my heart went into an arrhythmia and it ended up going into ventricular fibrillation," said Bravo.

She went into sudden cardiac arrest. Her sister jumped in the water and got her to the boat where her dad started CPR.

"That was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my career, trying to do CPR on a the back of a boat that was in the water which was constantly moving," said David Warner with the Town of Oakland Police Department.

Warner was patrolling the lake that day and was one of the first to help, followed by the Cambridge EMS that brought a LUCAS machine. It is a chest compression device that was purchased with proceeds from the 2016 Cannonball Run, a race Bravo ran in and helped fundraise for.

"I won my age group," said Bravo.

Bravo is an ER nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center said she never expected to be the one needing help.

"In hindsight, seeing people come in and knowing what's going to happen and that was me," said Bravo.

Now, she's back to see the crew she said saved her life with 12 thousand dollars to donate.

"Everything in hindsight is really crazy that I helped raise money to get the LUCAS. That I've never had anyone trail me when I've been in the boat before when I was swimming... Everything just lined up perfectly... I was meant to be here for some reason," said Bravo.

Bravo was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome but a lot of questions still remain about why this happened to her. Bravo raised the funds to donate by hosting an event at Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis to teach other CPR along with selling shirts.

For more information on hands-only CPR, visit the American Red Cross website.

This story first aired on Madison CW News at 9.

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