Gestures are important, and J.K. Rowling seems always to know what to do in any situation.
So when a 15-year-old American girl who survived the mass murder of her family quoted from Rowling's Harry Potter stories at the memorial, the British author was so moved she responded in kind, British media reported today.
Rowling sent Cassidy Stay a handwritten letter — in purple ink — written in the voice of Albus Dumbledore, the wise old wizard who ran the young-wizards school, Hogwarts. She included a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a list of school supplies and a signed book.
Stay was the lone survivor when a gunman killed her parents and four siblings in a shooting in Houston last month. At the memorial service a few days later, she moved many to tears with her poise and bearing.
"I'm feeling a lot better and I'm on a very straightforward path to a full recovery," she said, wiping away tears. "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.' 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. Stay strong."
Soon after, an online campaign began to bring the Stay and Rowling together. Meanwhile, Rowling saw the global coverage of Stay on the news and tracked down her contact information, The Telegraph reported.
On Facebook, followers of Cassidy's support page were pleased at Rowling's gesture, perceived as just right.
"I'm so excited and ecstatic that we were all able to make a difference! How wonderful," said one poster on Facebook.
A London literary agent summed it up.