Josephine Grace Gay (Joey) grew up in a family full of Ravens fans.
Thus, she developed a love of the color purple.
But on Dec. 14, Joey’s life came to an end far too soon. She was one of 20 children killed during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Now the Ravens are reaching out to the family to provide support. A Ravens executive, who is friends with the family, is attending the Saturday funeral.
“The Gay family and the entire Newtown community are in our thoughts and prayers, as we extend our heartfelt condolences to all of those affected by this tragedy,” a team representative said. "Joey will forever be a part of our Ravens family."
Joey was born in Maryland and the family hails from the Baltimore area. According to a press release from the family, Joey “rarely left the house without wearing something purple.”
After Joey’s passing, many friends who visited wore purple clothing to honor her. On Saturday, a family friend tied purple balloons on the mailboxes of the street. On Sunday, the neighborhood children, Joey’s sisters and cousins released purple balloons with “written messages of love to her in heaven.”
According to the family, Joey was autistic and severely apraxic. She could not speak, yet she touched many lives around her: teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors. They all loved and cherished her.
The family has established “Joey’s Fund” in her name through the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in Framingham. The proceeds of this fund will help families raising autistic children.