By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As thousands of Minnesotans gear up for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon this weekend, an emergency nurse wants them to stay safe.

In July of last year, Alicia Bravo went into cardiac arrest while swimming near Cambridge, Wisconsin. CPR performed by her family — along with life-saving devices — helped restart her heart.

“It’s great to be running again and biking again and getting back to my physical activity,” Bravo said. “It brings me so much joy to be able to do things that I love.”

And now Bravo has a new love. Teaching others the importance of CPR and automated external defibrillators.

“My dad knew I wasn’t breathing, and I didn’t have a pulse and he immediately started CPR,” Bravo said.

It was July 1 of last year when Alicia went into cardiac arrest while swimming. Her family pulled her out of the water and performed CPR until EMTs arrived. First responders used a LUCAS chest compression machine to help save her.

Ironically, Bravo won a race the year before that helped raise money for the machine.

“Without the race for that, they could not get these life-saving devices in the community. Luckily, I was saved by something I helped raise money for,” Bravo said.

The LUCAS and an AED brought Bravo’s heart back to normal. Just over a year later, she’s running and biking again, all while spreading a life-saving message.

“I wanted people to think of it as something fun to do, important to do and not be intimidated by it,” Bravo said.

Bravo has held Pump and Pints nights at Surly Brewing and the Shakopee Brew Hall. Essentially, people get a glass of beer and knowledge that can help save others.

“I just want to spread the word and save the world one person at a time,” Bravo said. “If someone can hear my story and learn CPR and save a life, my mission is complete.”

Alicia held another Pump and Pints night at the Shakopee Brew Hall Thursday evening.

The money she raised is going to the Shakopee school district to get new AEDs for their schools. October also happens to be Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness month.

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