Family Pays it Forward Following Daughter's Death

Published 09/11 2013 11:09PM

Updated 09/12 2013 11:06AM

September 11, 2013 - September 4th is a day Sarah and Jason O'Neill will never forget: it's the day their oldest daughter, Alyssa, died following an epileptic seizure in the shower.

Alyssa was a former cheerleader for McDowell High School, and a freshman at Penn State Behrend studying to become a nurse.

She was diagnosed with epilepsy in January 2012.

It's a disorder that a lot of people don't know about. It's a brain disorder that causes seizures, could be hereditary, or it can develop in other ways.

"You can also develop it if you get hit in the head really hard, multiple concussioins, high fever spikes," said Sarah O'Neill.

The day before Alyssa passed away, she told her mother she really wanted to try a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, considering she never had one.

Her mother promised her they would go the next day, but alas, Alyssa died before getting to have the latte.

Following the funeral, Sarah said to John that she wanted to get a pumpkin latte, in honor of Alyssa.

The O'Neill family then decided to buy not one, but 40 pumpkin lattes, to donate to whoever ordered one from Starbucks, in honor of their daughter. The only request they had for Starbucks was to mark each cup with #ajo, so that people could learn more about Alyssa's story and raise awareness about epilepsy through social media.

Then, unexpectedly, Starbucks matched and tripled their donation.

So now with #ajo on hundreds, thousands of cups, and trending online through various social media forms, undoubtedly, Alyssa's memory is living on.

And her parents have one last request: do something kind, big or small, as a way to pay it forward.

To learn more about Alyssa, search "AJO Forever in Our Hearts" on Fcebook.

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