TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) - Healing and hope. Almost six months after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a local fundraiser is held for one of the youngest victims who was born in Maryland.
It's called Joey's Purple Ball, for seven-year-old Josephine "Joey" Gay, one of the 20 first-graders killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
"The brutality and the innocence of the people involved just really affected people in a warm, soft place and they just had to be involved," said Bob Gay, Joey's dad.
Bob and his wife, Michele, were born and raised in Maryland and lived here most their lives. So when their friends here heard about what happened to Joey, they knew they had to do something.
"I couldn't imagine what the family was going through, and so I thought, 'what better to do than to fill the room with people who love them and try to raise substantial money for a fund that they had started,'" said Lauren Essakoff, event chair.
So people gathered to raise money in Joey's name at Calvert Hall, her dad's Alma mater.
Joey loved the color purple. She was born in Maryland and grew up in a family of Ravens fans, even though they moved to Connecticut.
She rarely left the house without wearing something purple.
Joey was also autistic. So all proceeds from Joey's Purple Ball are going right to Joey's Fund, established in connection with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.
"We just felt that giving back to so many of the other families that are affected by autism would be exactly what she'd want us to do," said Joey's mom, Michele Gay.
"Joey and her friends haven't been gone six months, and if you look at the efforts, particularly charitable efforts that have been done in their names, it's just amazing how much good it has brought out in people," Bob Gay said.
If you would like to learn more about the event or Joey's Fund, click here.