Nurse saves Circle Pines woman after collapse at basketball game - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nurse saves Circle Pines woman after collapse at basketball game

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ANDOVER, Minn. (KMSP) -

One Minnesota woman says she believes an angel was watching over her when she collapsed at her son's basketball game last week because a registered nurse rushed to her aid, and FOX 9 News spoke with both women who were strangers before the scare.

Joy Hartford told FOX 9 News she spent days trying to find the woman she calls her "guardian angel." A week ago, she was watching her son's freshman basketball team when a mother supporting the opposing Andover team jumped off the bench and into the game to save her life.

Keri Echtenkamp said usually, when her son's ninth-grade team is on the court, her sole focus stays with him; however, something in the stands caught her eye last week.

"I looked over and saw a lady slumped over another lady," Echtenkamp recalled.

Echtenkamp ran over and laid the woman on the bleachers.

"She did not have a pulse," she said. "I checked in two different locations. I didn't feel anything."

On the court, the game stopped and the players couldn't help but look over as Echtenkamp began to perform CPR.

""After two compressions, her shoulders curled and she gasped for air," Echtenkamp recalled. "I think I thanked her over and over again for coming to and being so alert."

As a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital, one might assume saving someone wouldn't be a big deal for Echtenkamp; however, saving someone on the court is nothing like being in the hospital.

"It was terrifying," Echtenkamp said. "Everyone said after, 'Boy, you looked so calm,' and I said, 'Really? You didn't see my knees shaking?'"

Ever since, Hartford has been trying to find out who saved her -- and the two were finally able to connect by phone on Tuesday night.

"I hope everyone else knows you were just an angel for me that day," Hartford told Echtenkamp. "You were just a godsend, so I hope you have a great holiday. You made mine. Thank you so much."

As for Echtenkamp, she says if telling her story helps inspire just one person to go out and get CPR certified, than the fright was more than worth it.

"We all need each other," Hartford said. "I needed her that day and I didn't realize that. She didn't' know me -- and strangers can be gifts to people. She was."

Echtenkamp said it was a relief to speak with Hartford, adding that just hearing her voice and hearing her thanks meant the world.

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