As her family said, “Joey was social and affectionate. She smiled, she loved hugs and she even had a wonderful sense of humor. Her spirit was "indomitable.” Joey also suffered from autism and severe Apraxia, which is "a neurological disorder characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out skilled movements and gestures," according to the National Institutes of Health.
Though they recently moved to Boston following a job change, the Gay family has strong ties with the local community. Both Bob and Michelle were born and raised in Maryland, as were their daughters. Michelle taught second grade at Hollifield Station Elementary School in Ellicott City and Bob was a 1978 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School in Towson. Joey was a dedicated Ravens fan.
Within days of her death, Bob and Michelle Gay established Joey's Fund Family Grant Program which provides grants to families raising autistic children who are need of financial assistance.
In the short time since their daughter’s death, Bob and Michelle have championed Joey’s cause and raised considerable awareness and funds for Autism. They have not let this unimaginable tragedy define their daughter, but have instead used it as an opportunity to honor their daughter’s inspiring and generous spirit and help others. Bob and Michelle Gay are truly Champions in Life. The BFG Community Foundation presented Bob and Michelle with a check for $5,000 which will go to Joey's Fund.