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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Family Of UVM Student Who Died Of Hypothermia Starts Awareness Campaign

Connor Gage on Mount Mansfield in September 2018.
Ronnie Gage, courtesy

The mother of a University of Vermont student who died of hypothermia earlier this month wants to make sure other parents don't have to go through the same grieving experience. Dorothy Connor has created the "Connor Gage Never Walk Alone Fund" in her son's memory.

Nineteen-year-old Connor Gage died of hypothermia that was exacerbated by acute intoxication. He was walking alone on North Winooski Avenue in Burlington on a night when temperatures were below zero when he passed out.

Dorothy Connor said the main educational message of the fund is “awareness of fellow human beings.”

“If you see someone who looks like they might be in trouble, help them,” Connor told VPR. “Buddy system, stick together.”

Connor also wants to educate young people about the dangers of hypothermia, and how quickly it can set in when exposed to extreme cold.

When asked how she thinks her son would feel about this fund in his memory, Connor said: "I feel in my heart that he knows he made a mistake and he wants other people to realize it can happen to anybody — and that pushes me forward."

Listen above to Dorothy Connor’s conversation with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb about her son and the fund she's created.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Bayla joined VPR in 2018 as the producer for Morning Edition. She left in 2019.
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