The family of a 20-year-old student who died three days after choking during a pancake eating contest in Connecticut and Sacred Heart University said that they will donate her organs. Caitlin Nelson, whose father was murdered in September. 11 attacks in Manhattan, died in New York hospital on Sunday.
“As her father, to the end she was giving of himself, and a proof of its bodies are all donated,” Robert Egbert, a spokesman for the port authority Police Benevolent Association, told the New York Post. “She’s an orphan her whole life that she is an organ donor. Like her father, who gave everything he could, so that others can live to the end, Caitlin did just the same.”
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Nelson was the participation in her sorority-sponsored charity event on the 30th of March, when they allegedly began uncontrollably shaking and fell to the ground after eating four or five pancakes.
Two nursing students who witnessed Nelson suffocation during the charity event performed life-saving measures for the police officers and the ambulance arrived, Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamaras, told The Associated Press.
“It is a tragic event that began as something fun,” he said. “It was just a tragic accident.”
Nelson, of Clark, N. J., was rushed to the St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, and on Friday was transferred to the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where she later died. Kalamaras told The New York Daily News that Nelson suffers from food allergies, but it is not believed to have contributed to her death.
We also. . SHU pic.twitter.com/X47WVXpWKA
— sacredheartuniv (@sacredheartuniv) 3 April 2017
Nelson was a junior master in social work and was described to The New York Daily News by a police source as “full of life,” and “vivid.”
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“Her mother kept the boy focused on the straight and narrow path,” the source told The Daily News. “To die for a good purpose eating pancakes after the father went down is terribly sad. Makes you worry about everything that could go wrong with your kids and this happens.”
Thousands of students at the university held a vigil for Nelson on Sunday.
“The SHU community is in mourning today,” the school said in a statement Monday. “We ask that during this time you give Caitlin’s family and the members of the SHU community privacy while they grieve.”
The school said counseling services were being provided. An in memoriam for her father, who was working as a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officer during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, indicated that Nelson has an older sister.
According to her LinkedIn page, Caitlin has been certified in youth mental health first aid and a volunteer at the Resiliency Center of Newtown, a non-profit group that offers free counseling and other services to people affected by the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School death of 20 children and six teachers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.