On July 9th, 2014, 15-year-old Cassidy Stay was the lone survivor during a violent attack on her family’s home by her ex-uncle, which left her parents and her four siblings dead (pictured below).

The ex-uncle, 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell, tied up the entire family and shot them execution-style. Cassidy was shot and survived by playing dead after the bullet grazed her hand and head. Thanks to Cassidy’s 911 call after the murderer left, Haskell was arrested by police shortly after, while on his way to Cassidy’s grandparents’ home (presumably to kill them as well).

To thank the public for the support she received after losing her family to the gunman, Cassidy prepared a speech. In it, she quoted Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books. She said, “Happiness can be found even in darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light.” Watch the video below for more of Cassidy’s speech.


Through an online campaign, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling was made aware of the 15yo Texan teen’s terrible situation and decided to write her a letter… as Dumbledore! Hand-written in purple ink, it was an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, the school for wizards in the Harry Potter books, along with a list of supplies Cassidy would need to attend and also a magic wand!

We hope the letter will help shine a little bit of light into the life of Cassidy Stay.