The son of a Washington County woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend nearly five years ago has been financially rewarded for his efforts to help other children who have been affected by domestic violence.
Fourteen-year-old Gabriel Brady of Dennysville, whose mother, Katie Cabana, was fatally shot in front of her three children on January 23, 2008, was the recipient of a $2,250 check on December 21 from the Maine Athletic Club, an organization that raises funds for children affected by domestic abuse. The financial gift was presented by Mark LeClerc of the Maine Athletic Club at The Next Step's Washington County resource center in Machias, where support and education for abused children and adults are available 24-hours a day.
"It was a big surprise," says Brady about the size of award. "That was very generous, and I'm happy that Mark wants me to use it in my work."
Since his mother's death, Brady has been living with his maternal grandmother, Ray Ann Wilder, whom he calls "a remarkable woman," and has raised money in honor of his mother.
"My mother was a wonderful parent and did a great job with me and my brother and sister," says Brady. "Three years ago, I started Katie's Quest with The Next Step, and the goal is to help other kids who have been victims of domestic abuse," he reports. "So far, we've sent one person to camp."
"Gabe wants to help other kids," points out Susan Farley of The Next Step. "He knows from experience how important it is that they could just have fun."
The Maine Athletic Club created the Taylor Tip-Off in 2009 after a domestic tragedy in Westbrook. The sporting event was named for the young Taylor sisters, who came home to find that their father had committed suicide after murdering their mother. When the Taylor sisters told Mark LeClerc that they no longer needed financial help, he says, "We decided to spread out and help a few kids in other parts of the state."
"Gabe certainly fit our criteria," adds LeClerc. "He's even given his birthday money to help other kids. We thought, 'Wow! We want to help him.'"
The Maine Athletic Club will continue to work with government and state agencies to directly help youngsters all over Maine.