The one-word summaries of Nursing junior Lindsey Goldhagen varied between "passion" and "brilliance," and there was considerable ambiguity about her favorite food: was it frozen yogurt or cheese fries?
But it seemed that nearly everyone at her memorial service yesterday, at Temple Beth Israel in Northfield, N.J., agreed on one point: Goldhagen knew how to live life to its fullest, and tried her hardest to impart her wisdom to others.
Goldhagen, 22, died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Sunday morning due to complications associated with a liver transplant, according to a press release by the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority.
The transplant, which she received in 2007 "seemed to give her a totally new lease on life," said her Uncle Alan at the service.
Ashley Cummings, who graduated from the College in May and was Goldhagen's sorority sister in Phi Sig, agreed, referencing a conversation she had with Goldhagen several weeks ago.
"She couldn't be happier, just because she was alive," Cummings said. "She was going to enjoy each day as if it were her last, because it simply could be her last."
Other close friends further spoke to Goldhagen's passion for life.
"She didn't just like something, she absolutely just loved it with everything she had," explained Goldhagen's friend Wren Edwards. "She didn't just join campus activities, she completely immersed herself in them."
Goldhagen, friends said, was an avid participant in Penn's bone marrow registration drive, as well as Relay for Life, an annual cancer fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Last year she spoke to the 1,774 Penn students who participated in Relay for Life, which raised over $150,000.
College junior and Phi Sig sister Melissa Gad said Goldhagen, who aspired to be a pediatric oncology nurse, frequented Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to play with child cancer patients.
"[Goldhagen] would have been a terrific nurse," associate dean for academic programs in the Nursing school Kathleen McCauley said Monday, citing Goldhagen's award of best poster presentation at an Eastern Nursing Research Society conference.
Daily Pennsylvanian blog editor Abby Schwartz, a senior in the College and also a Phi Sig sister, pointed out that Goldhagen had published a piece in the advice book Chicken Soup for the Cancer Survivor's Soul.
"I now know better than to tell a survivor that there's something she can't do," Schwartz said.
Edwards told the story of the time Goldhagen was visiting her in New York and wanted to visit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center despite the heavy rain that day.
"We were absolutely soaked by the time we got there," she said, recalling how the guard was reluctant to let them into a facility at which they knew no one.
Goldhagen, Wren explained, would do exactly as she set out to do, "and with a certain flair."
"Lindsey was not afraid to be completely clear on what she wanted and how she wanted it," said Goldhagen's younger sister, Samantha Goldhagen.
Gad pointed out that Goldhagen "never [let] her own illness sour her compassion for others."
"She was always the life of the party, despite - or maybe because of - the hardships she endured," Gad said, pointing to Goldhagen's "consistent positivity."
According to College junior and Phi Sig sister Rebecca Holtz, Goldhagen's positive outlook on life and compassion for others made her a "fiercely loyal" friend.
Goldhagen "would drop everything, no questions asked, no hesitation, when a friend needed her," Holtz said. "From getting an extra spoon with her frozen yogurt, because she knew I'd want some, to coming over to talk when I needed anything, she was always there for me."
Several family members highlighted Goldhagen's formidable 869 Facebook friends as an indicator of her gregarious nature.
"Lindsey took pride in accepting and loving everyone for their individual selves," Samantha Goldhagen said.
"She truly was a star," she added.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Gift of Life Donor Program in Goldhagen's name can do so at donors1.org.
Anyone wishing to share thoughts or memories about Goldhagen may e-mail Managing Editor Rebecca Kaplan at email@example.com.
To read more memories about Goldhagen, view her obituary and guestbook on legacy.com.Comments powered by Disqus
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