On July 9th, Cassidy Stay, 15, from Texas endured something so horrible and terrifying (a shooting that claimed the lives of both her parents and all four of her siblings) that it’s hard to imagine the girl enduring the heartache much less getting in front of a massive gathering of press to issue a statement. She stood at a memorial for the victims of this tragedy, all of which were her family and quoted one of the most beautiful lines in all of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling.
“Happiness can be found even in darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light,” Stay said. The quote is from the character of Albus Dumbledore, the beloved headmaster of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books.
Today, word is out that JK Rowling herself has sent Cassidy a priceless surprise gift. The author sent a care package to the girl in Texas which consisted of an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a wand, a shopping list for supplies needed for her term at the wizarding school, an autographed copy of “Prisoner of Azkaban,” and most importantly… A handwritten, comforting letter from Albus Dumbledore himself, written on parchment in purple ink.
The contents of the letter are to remain private.
Hannah Furnace at The Telegraph writes that friends were rallying on social media for a meeting between the two. “Rowling is said to have been so moved by seeing Miss Stay on global news sites that she tracked down her contact details and got in touch,” Furnace continues. A spokesperson for Rowling confirmed the 49-year old author was indeed in contact with Stay as well.
News of the care package is spreading quickly across social media. It’s amazing that literature like Harry Potter can be a source of comfort in the wake a tragedy such as this. As the new school year approaches, we can only wish the best for young Cassidy. Meanwhile, I hope she can make it to Diagon Alley in time before term starts to pick up a copy of The Monster Book of Monsters (Grade 3) and of course we look forward to her first Butterbeer at Hogsmeade.
For more on what happened, here is a news story from CBS: