Society

Woman Who Choked On Pancake Was Daughter Of 9/11 Hero (Photos)

| by Jonathan Constante

The New York woman who died after choking during a pancake-eating contest was the daughter of a 9/11 hero.

Caitlin Nelson, 20, died at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center on April 2, three days after choking during a pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University, the Daily Mail reported.

Caitlin was the daughter of James Nelson, an officer who died trying to save victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. He was killed while attempting to rescue people trapped on the 27th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, Inside Edition reported.

A video of Caitlin, who was 5 years old when her father died, honoring her father during a 2012 memorial ceremony at Ground Zero surfaced online.

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"Daddy, mommy, Annie and I love you and miss you every day," Caitlin said during her speech. "Butterfly kisses always."

Nelson was a police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In 1993, he went into the smoking World Trade Center to help rescue workers after the bombing that year, despite having asthma, according to the Daily Mail.

Caitlin and her sister, Anne, volunteered with Resiliency Center of Newtown, helping people affected by the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. They were also involved in America's Camp, an annual retreat for children of 9/11 victims.

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Caitlin was the vice president of her sorority Kappa Delta, and was studying to become a social worker.

She was rushed to the hospital after collapsing during a pancake-eating contest at her school's campus on March 30. She was later transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where she died.

Fairfield Police Lt. Bob Kalamaras confirmed that Nelson suffered from food allergies, but added that they did not contribute to her death.

"It's a tragic event that started out as something fun," Kalamaras said. "It was just a tragic accident."

Thousands of people gathered at the Sacred Heart University Campus on April 2 to remember Caitlin. A Mass was also dedicated to her, along with an impromptu candlelight vigil.

Social media users took to Facebook to pay tribute to Caitlin.

"Caitlin was one of the kindest and most thoughtful students I've been honored to teach," wrote one user. 'I'm heartbroken for her family and friends. Sending love and strength to her loved ones during this difficult time."

"There are no words. My heart is broken over this tragic loss," wrote another. "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."

Sources: Daily Mail, Inside Edition, Sacred Heart University/Facebook / Photo credit: Inside Edition via Daily Mail, Facebook via Daily MailSacred Heart University/Facebook

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