Mom Gave Her Life to Save Her Son From the Orlando Shooter & All Moms Get It

brenda mccoolEvery mother knows she would offer up her own life to save her child's in the blink of an eye, and that's just what Brooklyn native and mother-of-11 Brenda Lee Marquez McCool did during the tragic shootings at Orlando nightclub Pulse. Forty-nine-year-old McCool was dancing with her 21-year-old son Isaiah Henderson when Omar Mateen opened fire on Sunday morning, and as the shooter turned his gun in their direction, McCool did what any mother in her place would have done and jumped in front of her child.


"Brenda saw him point the gun. She said 'Get down' to Isaiah and she got in front of him," McCool's sister-in-law Ada Pressley told the New York Daily News.

"She was shot dead. That's how much she loved her kids. If it weren't for her, he’d have been shot."

But thanks to McCool's heroic actions, Henderson is here today -- even if he is completely heartbroken and, according to his sister Khalisha Pressley, overcome with guilt over his mother's death.

"He had to watch his mother die," Khalisha told NBC News. "He saw everybody getting killed."

"He feels it was his fault." 

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According to McCool's niece, Nelia Rodriguez, McCool was shot in the back when she and Henderson tried to run away from the gunshots. Henderson stopped to try and help his mother, but Rodriguez told People magazine that McCool insisted he keep on running. 

I can't imagine how horrific this experience must be for Henderson (not to mention all the other victims' families). Bad enough to lose your mom, but to feel like it was all because of you? That's just about unbearable. Still, I can guarantee McCool wouldn't have wanted her son to suffer the slightest bit of guilt because of her sacrifice -- no mother would. Her son is alive, and that's what she wanted more than anything.

Of course, that doesn't mean her family is any less sad. Her daughter Khalisha described the two-time cancer survivor as "the sweetest, lovingest person in the world" to NBC News; family and friends also spoke about her dedication to fighting for LGBT rights and her love of dancing (especially with her son).

"She was an awesome lady," Rodriguez told People.

"She was an upbeat, great mother and she was a friend to her children ... She was a cool mom. She was really down-to-earth and open-minded."

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From the comments made by her loved ones, it's clear that this amazingly big-hearted mom died the way she lived -- thinking of others. 

Like the 48 other innocent lives lost in this shooting, McCool's life was bright and filled with promise. And, like all those other lives, it shouldn't have ended this way. 

McCool's fifth oldest son Pharrell Marshall has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of her funeral; as of this writing, over $20,000 has been raised. No amount of money will bring her back, of course, but this outpouring of support proves that people care -- and that these victims will never be forgotten.


Image via GoFundMe 

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