The family of 20-year-old Caitlin Nelson said on Monday that they would donate her organs in accordance with the wish of the social work junior student at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. On March 30, she choked after she ate four or five pancakes as part of the Kappa Delta sorority’s pancake-eating contest.

Family of givers

Despite the double tragedy that struck the Nelson family, they decided to follow Caitlin’s wish to donate her organs so someone else may live. Charity work, after all, runs in the young woman’s life. Caitlin and Anne, her older sister, are volunteer workers at the Resiliency Center to help survivors of the Sandy Hook school massacre, The New York Post reported.

She was also a worker at America’s Camp which helps kids of 9/11 victims. It is an incident close to Caitlin’s heart since her father, James Nelson, was an employee of the Port Authority Police Department who died while helping evacuate people from one of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

She was only five years old when James Nelson died, yet 9/11 continued to run through Caitlin’s young life. In school, she once was assigned a project on Sept. 11 and the student randomly assigned to be Caitlin’s partner in the assignment was the son of another 9/11 hero who also died in the tragedy.

Bizarre accident

By a twist of fate, Caitlin also died unexpectedly in a bizarre incident while eating pancakes in a content held at their school as part of her sorority’s activities.

Lt. Robert Kalamaras, a Fairfield police officer, said that one of the nursing students at the pancake-eating competition noticed Caitlin starting to choke. The student caught and brought Caitlin to the ground to start CPR.

Officers arrived in less than two minutes after a nursing student made an emergency call. The officers attempted to clear Caitlin’s airway but were not successful.

They rushed her to the St. Vincent’s Medical Center and later transferred her to the Columbia University Medical Center where she died on Sunday.

Although Caitlin had several food allergies, Kalamaras said the doctors ruled out the allergies as a contributing factor to her death. The University, to honor Caitlin, flew on Monday its flag at half-mast. It also offered counseling services to students, especially members of her sorority which likely would no longer hold any pancake-eating contest in the future to avoid another bizarre death.