An area child with special needs is devastated after learning her lifelong best friend unexpectedly passed away.
Sixteen-year-old Averie Hight's parents said their daughter struggled knowing she'd never see or hear from her friend again. Until, just at the right moment, a message of comfort fell from the sky, healing Averie's broken heart.
Like each note she sings, Averie is bold and passionate. Her heart is as as big as her wardrobe, and just as colorful.
"She is a hoot," Marty Hight, Averie's mom said. "She is funny."
Averie was born with down syndrome and has had many health complications. In November, she had a near death experience when her loving heart stopped beating.
But Averie overcame, until one day her heart faced a new challenge -- when she heard tragic news about her best friend, Katelyn Hanafin.
"It was a shock," Marty Hight said. "Katelyn had a very good school year and it was an unexpected passing."
To honor Katelyn, who also had special needs, Averie and about 200 others gathered to say goodbye.
"Sixteen balloons, going up to heaven," Elva Hann, an educator at Charles Page High School said. "So they got the idea to tape Katelyn's picture on each balloon."
With each balloon, loved ones wrote heartfelt letters, ready to send into the sky in hopes that Katelyn might catch one. Little did anyone know, one of those balloons wasn't meant for Katelyn, it was meant for Averie.
"They said ok, '1-2-3' and they all went up," Hann said.
However, one balloon was different, and held a special message written by mistake.
"What else am I going to write?" Hann said. "I've already messed up. And so, I thought, 'love you, Katelyn,' and I put a comma and I'm like 'Why did I put that comma there?'" Hann said.
The letter appeared as if Katelyn herself wrote it.
After the event, Averie was feeling torn.
"I miss her so much," she said.
Averie then went home to cry, until she looked outside her window, where a small, popped balloon, was lying under her window.
"Off of the patio was this balloon with a note and picture of Katelyn," Marty Hight said. "And when I turned the balloon over and read the note, it said, 'Miss you sweet girl, love you, Katelyn."
It was a message to Averie, from Katelyn, meant to mend her broken heart.
"Averie said, 'It's a letter from Katelyn! My friend sent me a letter from heaven!'"
Against all odds, Katelyn's hot pink balloon found Averie, to let her know she was in heaven, and that everything was going to be OK.
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