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J.K. Rowling writes as Dumbledore to teen massacre survivor

The author of the Harry Potter series pens a letter to girl who lost her whole family in mass murder

By Andrea Tim | Published: 8 Aug 2014

Rowling's letter
Photo: Getty Images

J.K. Rowling resurrected fictional character Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame to write to a 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, who witnessed the murder of her family on July 9.

During a memorial service just days after the horrific incident, the brave 15-year-old quoted a famous line uttered by Dumbledore in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

A Facebook campaign, dedicated to convince the Harry Potter author to meet Cassidy, was set up not long after. On 5 August, word came from the page's admin that good ol' J.K. had sent a heartfelt handwritten note in Dumbledore's name to the teenager.

"This afternoon, I talked to a friend of Cassidy's who confirmed that JK Rowling did, in fact, write her a personalised letter from "Dumbledore" (hand-written with purple ink). She was also sent a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list, along with the 3rd book with JK's autograph," the Facebook post read.

Cassidy survived the shooting as the bullet had only hit her finger and fractured her skull, according to reports. The now-convicted Ronald Haskell (identified as the ex-husband of a woman who is related to the Stays) gunned down Cassidy's father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters at their home in Houston, Texas. Playing dead, the girl waited until the assailant left before dialling 911, consequently thwarting his plans to attack other family members.

"I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zach are in a much better place and that I'll be able to see them again one day," Cassidy added in her speech. "Thank you all for coming and showing support for me and my family. Stay strong."

Related: Taylor Swift sings to six-year-old cancer patient
Related: Harry Potter spinoff films


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