College Student, 20, Dies After Choking at Pancake-Eating Contest on Campus

A 20-year-old college student has died after participating in a pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, the Associated Press reports.

Two nursing students tried to help Caitlin Nelson when she began to choke during the event. She was later transported to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and died three days later on Sunday, April 2.

Caitlin Nelson Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University mourns sorority sister who died after pancake-eating contest in Connecticut. Sean Kaschak/Sacred Heart University via AP

“You have a family that lost their very young and very vibrant daughter, and you have the Sacred Heart University community that lost one of their students. It’s just a tragic accident.” “They did the best to establish an airway,” Fairfield police Lt. Bob Kalamaras said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the pancake was impacted in there, in her throat, and the officers were trying to get it out.”

Nelson, whose father was killed in the September 11, 2011 attacks, was from Clark, New Jersey. She was a junior and majoring in social work.

Caitlin Nelson Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University mourns sorority sister who died after pancake-eating contest in Connecticut. Sean Kaschak/Sacred Heart University via AP

Nelson was remembered at a candlelight vigil and mass on Sunday night. According to the New York Post, her organs will be donated.

“Like her father, right up until the end she was giving of herself, and proof of that is her organs are all being donated,” Robert Egbert, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, told the Post. “She indicated throughout her life that she was an organ donor. Like her father, who gave everything he possibly could so others could live right up until the end, Caitlin just did the same thing.”

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