One of the 49 victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre was Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, a 49-year-old woman, who, according to the New York Daily News, was at Pulse to dance with her son Isaiah Henderson and stepped in front of the 21-year-old when she saw Omar Mateen's weapon.
McCool loved to dance with Henderson and did so often. She'd actually moved to Orlando to be with Henderson and her youngest children (she has 11) and was dancing that night in celebration of the Puerto Rican Day Parade happening in New York. In fact, McCool posted a Facebook video of her and another friend dancing at Pulse late Saturday night just before the shooting.
"Every year she comes to New York to celebrate the Puerto Rican Day Parade," McCool's sister-in-law Ada Pressley, who was also inside the club during the attack, told the Daily News: "If she'd come to New York, she'd be alive."
Ada Pressley witnessed McCool save her son's life that night: "Brenda saw him point the gun. She said, 'Get down,' to Isaiah and she got in front of him. She was shot dead. That's how much she loved her kids." She was shot twice and confirmed dead late Monday evening.
Khalisha Pressley, McCool's oldest daughter, told NBC News her little brother called her screaming after the shooting. "He had to watch his mother die," Khalisha said. "He saw everybody getting killed. He feels it was his fault."
Khalisha also told NBC that McCool beat cancer twice and was "always really cool, but really a mom at the end of the day" to her and her 10 siblings. She was "the sweetest, lovingest person in the world," Khalisha said.
McCool's fifth-oldest son Farrell Marshall started a GoFundMe to fund his mother's funeral and help care for her other children. Henderson has deleted everything from his Facebook aside from tributes to his mother and a post asking people to share the GoFundMe link.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.