An Illinois middle school teacher and avid Chicago sports fan died Sunday after choking on a hot dog at a Cubs game.
Maureen Oleskiewicz, 28, was attending the game at Wrigley Field with her brother Martin. The two were enjoying a pregame lunch when a hot dog became lodged in Oleskiewicz's throat.
"They're sitting there eating lunch before the game,
looking at the field and the next thing she’s on the floor," Margaret Oleskiewicz, the victim's mother, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "[Martin] didn't even know she was in distress and then she’s on the floor."
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Rescue crews administered CPR and transported Oleskiewicz to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, but it was too late. She was kept alive until Tuesday morning, long enough to donate her organs in what her mother called a final act of kindness.
"She had a single digit chance of recovering
and even then it would be in a vegetative state," Margaret Oleskiewicz told CBS Chicago. "Two kidneys went to two different people. Her heart went to a 14-year-old and so, even in death, she's still giving. We have an angel upstairs watching over us now."
Oleskiewicz taught 6th and 7th grade language arts at Palos Heights Middle School, and often instituted spirit days, where students were encouraged to dress up in support of the local teams she loved so much — the Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bears. Beloved by her students, Oleskiewicz went to great lengths to make learning fun, including making up rap songs to help her class remember vocabulary words.
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"There is no magic wand to fix what we cannot comprehend," District 128 Superintendent Kathleen Casey wrote in a letter to parents. "Maureen had a positive impact on countless students, parents, and colleagues. Her vibrant, positive outlook on life and her joyful nature will be missed more than words can convey."
The Chicago Cubs also issued a statement Wednesday: "The Chicago Cubs are saddened to hear news of the untimely death of Maureen Oleskiewicz. We express our deepest sympathy to her family and friends. We will continue to keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
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