Blythe O'Sullivan spent her short life helping others, and her family wants that giving spirit to continue.
O'Sullivan's parents are asking well-wishers to forgo flowers for their daughter's funeral services and donate to two charities that the 25-year-old Bloomingdale woman was involved with in recent years.
"She took her life of incredible opportunities and privilege and translated that into service for others," said Pam Rion, a longtime family friend and DuPage County Board member. "Our Blythe gave to everyone and all she ever wanted to do was help others."
O'Sullivan was killed last week while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Suriname. She accidentally tripped an animal trap rigged to fire a gun. The gunshot hit her in the leg, and she reportedly bled to death on the way to a nearby hospital.
Peace Corps spokesman Richard Parker said he was told someone had been detained for setting the illegal trap. More than 200 people have died serving in the Peace Corps since its inception in the 1960s. Prior to O'Sullivan's death Dec. 6, a male volunteer in the South Pacific was killed in October when a tree fell on top of him, Parker said.
Mourners are being asked to contribute donations to an animal welfare organization called Dumb Friends League of Denver, where O'Sullivan had volunteered prior to joining the Peace Corps.
Donors can also give to the Palatine-based WINGS program that works with homeless women and children in O'Sullivan's name. She had had been organizing women's programs in Suriname at the time of her death, Parker said.
Funeral services for O'Sullivan will be held Tuesday. They will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Salerno's Rosedale Chapels at 450 W. Lake St. in Roselle, followed by a 10 a.m. Mass at St. Isidore Catholic Church at 427 W. Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale. Interment will be private.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.