After Cassidy Stay’s family was murdered in a horrific home shooting, the 15-year-old took solace in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. At the memorial service, she quoted one of Albus Dumbledore’s most famous quotes: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Now, Rowling herself has reached out to provide a small measure of comfort for the young survivor—using Dumbledore’s voice.
Stay lost her entire family in early July, when her uncle entered the Stay family’s home, looking for his ex-wife. When they wouldn’t give him the information, he shot Stay’s parents and four younger siblings. Stay reportedly played dead after a bullet grazed her skull, making her the only survivor. The uncle was taken into custody shortly after the shooting.
Following the memorial service, Stay’s family and friends set up a Facebook page trying to arrange a meeting between her and the author. A few days ago, they reported that while the in-person meeting hadn’t happened yet, Rowling had reached out with a Harry Potter care package for Stay.
According to the Facebook page manager (via Hypable), Rowling sent a wand, a Hogwarts acceptance letter and school supply list, an autographed copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (the book in which the quote appears), and—the most special item—a letter from “Dumbledore” written in purple ink.
The contents of the letter currently remain private between Stay and Rowling.
Photo: Tom Eames