J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, recently penned a handwritten letter to teenager shooting victim, Cassidy Stay, of Houston, Texas. The 15-year-old girl was the lone survivor of the shooting massacre that took the lives of both her parents and each of her four siblings. All were murdered by an ex-family member, who came to their house on July 9th of this year and opened fire. The only reason Stay survived was because she played dead after being shot in the head. At the memorial service for her family, Stay quoted from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,” Stay recited, “if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Shortly thereafter, support ignited from friends, who immediately launched a Facebook page entitled, “We Want J.K. Rowling to Meet Cassidy Stay.” The title proclaimed the ultimate goal of the page, giving Stay the opportunity of meeting the well-known novelist in person. Thousands of Likes poured into the page, quickly exceeding 5,000. Through this, the author learned of the quote Stay used, and was so deeply touched that Stay drew inspiration from one of her works, she sought out the girl’s contact information. Once she acquired it, Rowling wrote a letter and mailed it to Cassidy Stay.
Although no details of the letter’s contents have been released, speculations have filtered in that it was written in purple ink and composed from the point of view of Hogwart’s own headmaster Dumbledore. Along with the letter, Stay received a Hogwart’s acceptance letter with an attached list of school supplies, a wand and an autographed copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Other unidentified items were received as well. Rebecca Salt, Rowling’s spokesperson, has confirmed only the arrival of letter and items to Stay.
“The contents of the letter and how it come about are between her and Cassidy,” Salt said to Mashable. “They will remain private.”
Since the murder of her family, Cassidy Stay has received an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and members around the world, including the personalized letter J.K. Rowling wrote to her. So much financial support flooded in that a fund was created in her family’s name to honor their memory. Currently, the donations amount to more than $300,000.
As for the Facebook page and the initial goal of arranging Stay with an in person meeting with the author, Stay’s friends are still working on it. One of Stay’s friends went as far as to tell the Facebook page administrator about the letter Harry Potter’s creator sent to Stay.
“I’m so excited…that we were all able to make a difference!” her friend wrote. “I still really want [them] to actually meet. We might just have to keep this page going until that actually happens.”
Additional members have echoed this hope in several posts and comments. Stay’s recitation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban gained a powerful response from everyone who heard it, all the way to the author of Harry Potter herself. It evoked a heart-felt letter, written and addressed from best-selling novelist J.K. Rowling to teenage shooting victim Cassidy Stay. Definite news of whether or not the two will actually meet is not yet known.
By Rachel Roddy