An innocent pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut ended in a tragedy after a student lost her life.
20-year-old Caitlin Nelson died after choking on pancakes during the university's Greek life eating competition hosted by the Kappa Delta sorority last Thursday.
According to New York Post, Nelson had already eaten about three or four pancakes before she started to show signs of choking.
"She starts to choke on pancake, someone recognized it — one of the nursing students at the competition — and she caught her and brought her slowly to the ground," Fairfield police Lt. Robert Kalamaras told NY Post. He added, "And then she began CPR, basic life support, until officers showed up less than two minutes after the emergency call was made by one of the nursing students.”
However, the efforts of the first responders weren't enough to revive her so she had to be transported to St.Vincent's Medical center and then to Columbia University Medical Center where she died on Sunday.
Nelson who was from Clark, New Jersey was in the Social Work program at Sacred Heart University. She was the vice president of community service at the Kappa Delta Sorority and volunteered at Resiliency Center of Newtown, a non-profit group that gives free counselling to those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place in 2012.
Sacred Heart released a statement on Monday to address the tragedy. “The SHU community is mourning today,” the school said. “We ask that during this time you give Caitlin’s family and the members of the SHU community privacy while they grieve.”
Unfortunately, the Nelson's aren't strangers to tragedy. Caitlin's father, James, lost his life during the 9/11 terrorist attacks while serving as a Port Authority police officer.
Thousands gathered at the Sacred Heart campus following the news of Caitlin's death. A mass and candlelight vigil were held on Sunday night and messages have been flooding Facebook.
"Heaven got another angel and we are sad beyond belief for Caitlin's family. No family should have to endure the loss of a child ever and they already lost her dad on 9/11, it's heart wrenching," wrote one Facebook User.
"Caitlin was one of the kindest and most thoughtful students I've been honored to teach. I'm heartbroken for her family and friends. Sending love and strength to her loved ones during this difficult time," one of her former teachers wrote.
"There are no words. My heart is broken over this tragic loss. Prayers to Caitlin, her family and friends and to the entire SHU family. May she RIP as she is reunited with her dad in heaven" another Facebook user wrote.
Caitlin is survived by her mother and sister.