AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – When a gunman opened fire inside an Aurora theater on July 20, he cut short the lives of 12 people, but he did not destroy all their dreams.
Jessica Ghawi was a junior at Metro State University of Denver and her passions were sports and journalism, but she is remembered as a young woman who wanted to help the children affected by the summer’s wildfires.
“She wanted to collect sports equipment and donate it to families who had lost their homes,” her mother Sandy Phillips told CBS4′s Valerie Castro.
Jessica wanted to start her own foundation for those kids but that dream was cut short. That’s when Altitude Sports and Entertainment reached out to A Precious Child, a nonprofit which sponsors the program “Give Sports.”
In September, thousands of dollars and truckloads of sporting equipment were collected in Ghawi’s name, sporting equipment that ended up in the hands and on the feet of kids like eighth grader Daniel Roth.
The Roth family moved to Colorado Springs in August, but finances were tight. When Daniel wanted to wrestle, the cost of the shoes was simply too much.
“We were struggling with groceries and life and trying to keep gas in the car,” said Daniel’s mother, Jill. “I was like, that’s just flat out not going to happen.”
“I thought I wasn’t going to be able to wrestle because we didn’t really have money for that,” Daniel said.
But that’s where Jessica’s dream and Give Sports came through, Daniel received a pair of wrestling shoes purchased with donations made at that drive in September.
“I was in social studies and somebody walks in with this Nike box,” Daniel recalled. ” I’m like ‘What’s this?’ and then I opened it and I’m like ‘No way!’
That just made my year. That’s the only sport I’ve done and probably the only one I’ll do.”
For Ghawi’s loved ones, knowing Daniel is wrestling means her passions and dreams are alive.
“It’s nice to see all of this happening,” is her mother’s message. “Of course, we’d trade it all to have her back but these were things that she was passionate about and we’re making sure in anyway that we can that all her dreams get fulfilled.”