The notoriously private author J.K. Rowling recently sent a care package to Cassidy Stay, the survivor of a tragic shooting who quoted popular Harry Potter character Professor Dumbledore during a memorial service for her family.
Cassidy, 15, was the sole survivor of the grisly murder that claimed the lives of both of her parents and her four siblings near Houston, Texas, on July 9. The gunman, her aunt’s ex-husband, also shot Cassidy but she managed to survive by playing dead then calling 911.
At her family’s memorial service, Cassidy turned to wisdom found in one of Rowling’s books. “In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore says: ‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light,’” Cassidy said in her eulogy.
Many were impressed with Cassidy’s composure, bravery, and hopeful spirit and the eulogy quickly went viral. Online supporters started a Facebook campaign: We want JK Rowling to meet Cassidy Stay. And it appears to have gotten the author’s attention.
Rowling sent Cassidy a handwritten letter in the voice of Dumbledore (in magical purple ink, no less). We don’t know what the note says, though. The author’s spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph “we can confirm that J.K. Rowling was in touch with Cassidy Stay, however, the contents of the letter remain private.” Included in the package were a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a list of school supplies, and an autographed copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Cassidy’s supporters also set up a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $400,000 for a trust fund in Cassidy’s name. For their part, the Facebook campaign founders wrote that they are “ecstatic” that they “were all able to make a difference” for this inspirational girl.