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Community mourns after student passes away
Strong. Compassionate. Loving. These are only a few of the many words friends and family are using to describe the personality of senior Corey Burke.
Burke passed away from cancer on Oct. 1 in her home in Kearny, New Jersey surrounded by her family, according to MyQ. She was a senior health science major at Quinnipiac and a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
Many members of the Quinnipiac community have posted to social media in memory of Burke. A Facebook cover photo banner has been circulated among friends and family reading, “#CoreysArmy.”
Professor John Powers taught Burke during the QU301 service trip to the Dominican Republic in January, 2016. During the trip, Burke and 25 other students spent time helping the people in Batey 50, which is a remote Haitian village in the Dominican Republic.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Corey was a very special young lady. Compassionate, loving and just someone who brightened up a room,” Powers said. “Her mom texted me last week to say her time with QU301 in the Dominican Republic was the most meaningful time in Corey’s life, and her time in Batey 50 also made a huge impact on the people who live there and her classmates.”
Powers said while in the Dominican Republic, Burke became very close with an 8-year-old named Frankie.
“It was amazing to me how quickly I could feel attached to someone I had known for a day or two,” Burke wrote in a blog post after her trip to the Dominican Republic. “I did not expect my goodbye to Frankie and the rest of the people of Batey 50 to be as difficult as it was.”
Senior Matt Blumenthal said in a blog post that Burke was kind and loyal to all of her friends.
“Her down-to-earth affect put you at ease, and after an hour of conversation you felt like you knew her your whole life,” Blumenthal said in the blog post. “Everyone needs to have a friend like Corey. One that goes beyond what is required of a friend. A friend that makes you better just by gracing you with their presence. We should honor her by being this friend to someone else. Her spirit will live in the comfort and companionship we find with each other.”
Burke was very proud to be a student at Quinnipiac, according to her obituary.
“Corey was an active, involved student and loved her university,” her obituary said. “While at school, she could be found anywhere: from studying in the library; social nights out at Toads; philanthropic events; in the cheering section at an ice hockey game; and even hiking The Sleeping Giant. If it was a QU tradition, she wanted to experience it!”
Graduate student Tammy Nguyen said Burke was one of the students she kept in touch with after she returned to Quinnipiac for her graduate degree.
“I had the privilege of watching her grow since freshman year,” Nguyen said. “She transformed into a confident leader amongst campus and never failed to make me proud.”
Nguyen created a GoFundMe page on March 30, 2016 in order to raise money for Burke. She said after Burke’s diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, her first instinct was to help Burke and her family pay for her medical expenses. Nguyen was training for a half marathon and used it as an opportunity to raise money for Burke.
Over the past six months, 667 people have raised more than $34,000 for Burke’s family with a goal of $50,000.
“The response to the page speaks volume to not only the support from Quinnipiac, but also to Corey as a person,” Nguyen said. “She is and will forever be loved by many. And the credit is all due to the Quinnipiac students, faculty, and their families. They are the heroes a part of Corey’s Army.”
Nguyen said the money from the GoFundMe page is either going towards Burke’s treatment finances or to the charity of her wishes. Members of the community can also donate to the QU301 Dominican Republic Mission Team in Burke’s memory, according to her obituary.
“Even though she was struggling with her own battle, she never lost sight of the value in helping others,” Nguyen said. “And even though we are broken by her loss, we find solace in the fact that her memories with us can never be stripped.”