Caitlin Nelson was a social work student who had volunteered with trauma victims after losing her father in 9/11.
Nelson had eaten several pancakes when a nursing student at the event observed her in “distress,” the Fairfield Police Department said in a press release.
When police officers arrived, Nelson was unresponsive and not breathing.
“We fortunately had some officers doing traffic enforcement (nearby),” Fairfield Police Chief Gary McNamara told the Connecticut Post. “They desperately tried to save Caitlin’s life.”
Nelson had food allergies, the newspaper reported, but her cause of death remains unknown pending an autopsy.
In a report from her hometown newspaper from 2016, Nelson said that working with other trauma victims, like survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting, helped her deal with her father’s death.
“It’s about positive change,” she said. “It’s about healing and helping. It’s about paying it forward.”
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