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Gabby Petito’s Birthday Remembered By Domestic Violence Donations
“Happy Birthday in heaven our Angel Gabby! We won’t stop! Your light will carry on and continue to touch the world!”-Gabby Petito Foundation
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Posted Sat, Mar 19, 2022 at 9:53 pm ET
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Updated Sat, Mar 19, 2022 at 9:57 pm ET
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The parents of Gabby Petito and family friends formed a foundation in her honor after her death in September.
The parents of Gabby Petito and family friends formed a foundation in her honor after her death in September. (Nichole Schmidt)
BLUE POINT, NY — The family and friends of Gabby Petito honored the week of what would have been her 23rd birthday with significant donations to help domestic violence victims.

The Gabby Petito Foundation recently made a $23,000 donation to Suffolk County Vibes to help support their anti-violence mission, as well as a $2,300 donation to a Suffolk County-based domestic violence shelter for new equipment, according to the foundation’s treasurer, Gary Rider.

The foundation was formed in September by Petito’s family, including parents Joseph and Tara Petito, and Nichole and Jim Schmidt, as well as family friends, Rider and Rick Stafford.

Rider said it was the group’s way “to remember and honor her memory.”

Petito, who would have turned 23 on Saturday, was found strangled to death in September after disappearing on a road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who is presumed to have committed suicide in a Florida preserve. Laundrie claimed responsibility for her death in a note found near his partial remains, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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The foundation thanked its roughly 20,000 Facebook followers for their support, allowing them to raise money for domestic violence victims and continue their mission of raising awareness for missing person cases.

“Thanks to so many of you, we can carry on Gabby’s legacy,” the post read, continuing, “Thank you for all the continued love and support!”

Happy Birthday in heaven our Angel Gabby! We won’t stop! Your light will carry on and continue to touch the world!,” the post concluded.

On Saturday, Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, tweeted a photo of himself and a group of people by a memorial named “Gabby’s Bench” in North Port, FL, saying that he had lunch there with some family and friends, under the hashtag #GABBYPETITO and #happybirthday.

In the wake of Petito’s death, thousands of people who needed help, reached out to Petito’s family to share their stories, seek and offer support, and connect with other domestic violence survivors.

At the announcement of the foundation’s formation in September, Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said he hoped the organization can help other people that may be in a similar situation to that of Petito.

“We’re just hopeful that we’re able to help people in the future,” he added.

The Gabby Petito Foundation has since partnered with organizations that support domestic violence survivors, like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The AWARE Foundation, and SafeSpace.

Joseph Petito opened a domestic violence shelter called SafeSpace Shelter in Vero Beach, FL, last month dedicated in his daughter’s honor, The New York Post reported.

The foundation’s next fundraiser is a golf outing at TopGolf on April 3.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES:

National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline): www.thehotline.org The Hotline provides free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Text START to 88788, or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Safe Space shelter: www.safespacefl.org
The Aware Foundation: www.theawarefoundationofvirgin…

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