College Student Dies During Sorority Pancake-Eating Competition
A 20-year-old college student tragically died on Sunday after she choked during a Greek life pancake-eating contest at her school three days earlier.
On Thursday night, Caitlin Nelson was participating in a charity event at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. During the pancake-eating contest, Caitlin ate four or five flapjacks. Then “she suddenly fell to the floor and started shaking uncontrollably.” Two nursing students rushed to help her. Then police and paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and she was taken to a local hospital, where doctors said she was in critical but stable condition.
“Our officers were on the scene quickly,” Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said. “They recognized the gravity of the situation immediately and desperately and heroically tried to clear her airway. Tragically, the obstruction was not easily cleared and that lack of oxygen for that amount of time ultimately caused severe damage.”
Caitlin was later transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and was pronounced dead on Sunday. Sadly, this was the same day that a man choked to death during a doughnut-eating contest. Her vital organs have been harvested to be used to help people in need.
Caitlin lost her life, but in her passing sacrificed to those who needed help. She was much like her father, Port Authority Officer James Nelson, who was killed during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
When Caitlin was 5-years-old, James Nelson was on the 27th floor of one of the Twin Towers helping evacuate people when the iconic skyscraper collapsed.
James had worked as an officer with the Port Authority for 18 years and was only 40-years-old when he died.
Caitlin lived in Clarke, New Jersey on James Nelson Way, named after her father.
She was in school on a scholarship set aside for children of parents killed on 9/11.
Caitlin was a Kappa Delta sorority sister and vice president who was majoring in social work and was also a fencer. She was a junior at Sacred Heart and was set to graduate in 2018. She was a certified youth mental health counselor and would volunteer for community service. She helped trauma victims affected by the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the Resiliency Center of Newtown.
This is probably one of the most unlikely things to kill someone. I only found one other person to die from eating a pancake: a 16-year-old from Minnesota. But it wasn’t the actual pancakes that killed him, it was the traces of dairy that ended the teen’s life because he had a severe dairy allergy and died after the meal.