Family Donating Organs Of SHU Student Who Died In Pancake-Eating Contest

update: The medial examiner has determined a cause of death. Click here to read the story.

Caitlin Nelson of Sacred Heart University.

Caitlin Nelson of Sacred Heart University.

Photo Credit: Facebook

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The family of a Sacred Heart University student who choked during a pancake-eating contest on campus and later died will be donating her organs, the New York Post reports.

Caitlin Nelson, 20, of Clark, N.J., died Sunday, three days after the competition. 

"We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Caitlin Nelson, in addition to the SHU community who have all been impacted by this tragic event," said Fairfield Police Lt. Bob Kalamaras.

He said the Fairfield Police Department is "awaiting further medical documentation to determine cause of death."

Nelson, who collapsed during the pancake-eating contest, also had food allergies.  

RELATED STORY: SHU mourns death of junior from New Jersey

The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will be investigating Nelson's death to determine the cause, a spokesman said Monday. 

Nelson was studying social work and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and was taking part in a Greek Life event when she was stricken.

"She passed away ... and is now with her father, who was a victim of the 9-11 attacks," SHU President John J. Petillo said in an email to parents Sunday.

She taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center and later transferred to Columbia University Medical Center, where she died Sunday.

She was 5 when her father, James Nelson, 40, died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center. A Port Authority police officer, he was evacuating people from the 27th-floor of the Twin Towers when it collapsed.

He had also rescued people after 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center bombing, braving the black smoke despite his asthma.

Caitlin Nelson and her sister, Anne, volunteered at the Resiliency Center in Newtown with survivors of the Sandy Hook School shooting as they struggled through their losses, according to

“It’s about positive change. It’s about healing and helping. It’s about paying it forward," Caitlin Nelson told last year.


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