Nepal quake victim from NJ remembered for kindness and adventure
Marisa Eve Girawong, the New Jersey doctor who died in an avalanche at the base of Mt. Everest after Saturday's earthquake in Nepal, is being remembered by colleagues for her kindness and sense of adventure.
The Edison woman was among 18 climbers at the world's tallest mountain who died in the avalanche. She was in Nepal with an expedition organized by Seattle-based Madison Mountaineering.
Garrett Madison in a message on the company's website says that as the expedition was taken by helicopter back to their base camp Girawong was in their thoughts. "We are still just incredibly devastated by the loss of our Base Camp doctor, Marisa Eve Girawong. She supported us throughout the expedition, took good care of us and insured that we were healthy throughout," wrote Madison. "We are just totally devastated that we lost her in Base Camp due to wind blast from the landslide.
Hours before the avalanche, Girawong was posting on her Facebook page: "Snow is falling & my food cravings are at an all time high...Is a crunchy spicy tuna roll with eel sauce too much to ask for?"
Before heading to Nepal, Girawong had worked as a physician's assistant at East Orange General Hospital, where officials this weekend expressed "deepest sympathy and prayers" for her and her family. Co-workers recalled her kindness, one telling ABC 7 she would often bring cookies to work to share.
"I feel terrible and my heart goes out to the family," a neighbor told CBS New York. Friends arriving at the Girawong home had no comment and asked for privacy from the media as they arrived.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D) posted on his Facebook page that was was "heavyhearted" about the 28-year-old's death. "Sending prayers to her friends, family, and loved ones."
Girawong's Facebook page indicates she was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She enjoyed indoor and outdoor rock climbing and had reached the summits of Mt. Washington and Mt. Rainier according her bio on Madison Mountaineering's website.
Girawong was working on a second Master’s degree and postgraduate diploma in mountain medicine at England's University of Leicester. She was a 2009 graduate of Rutgers-Newark College of Arts & Sciences.
“In a way, I feel like I’ve lost one of my children,” B. Jang Mi Johnson, a senior physician assistant at the Illinois Dermatology Institute told CBS Chicago. “It’s hard when someone that amazing is gone." Johnson taught Girawong at the Stroger Hospital-Malcolm X College where she graduated from in 2012.
Saturday's magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp, which was packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their way up to the summit. The death toll from Nepal's earthquake soared past 3,700 on Monday according to government officials.
- New Jersey woman among victims of earthquake in Nepal / ABC 7
- Rutgers graduate dies on Mount Everest / MyCentralJersey.com