Source: Denver 7 ABC News

LITTLETON, Colo. — Cardiac arrest can happen to just about anyone, at any time. When it happens outside of a hospital, it’s almost always deadly. But if there’s an automated external defibrillator (AED) nearby, you’re twice as likely to survive.

Kara Baker, a cardiology nurse at AdventHealth in Littleton, knows the importance of AEDs, not just through her work but her family’s own tragic experience.

“My dad, Ed Walsh, spent a large chunk of his life dedicated to placing AEDs inside of elementary schools,” Baker said.

But when Walsh collapsed on an elementary school soccer field in 2018, the only AED nearby was locked away inside. Although Baker acted quickly – calling 911 and starting chest compressions, “a brick wall stood between my dad and a potentially lifesaving device,” she said.

“Despite everyone’s best effort, it still crushes me to say that he passed away later that day,” Baker said. “I knew I had to make it my mission to show my dad that we were going to be okay. That this tragedy was not going to define us, but instead teach us how to take a difficult situation and turn it into an opportunity to carry on his legacy.”

Five years later, Baker made good on that mission.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at Euclid Middle School, Baker unveiled one of nine AEDs being installed outside of Littleton Public Schools. The AdventHealth Littleton Foundation paid for the SaveStation units, which will be available to the public 24/7.