Parents of girl who died after flu diagnosis create foundation in her memory

Jatara McGee - Reporter WLWT 5

MASON, Ohio —

The heartbroken family of a Mason fourth-grader, who died just over one month ago, is using their grief to inspire change and make a difference.

Sable Gibson, 10, died in February after contracting influenza and strep throat.

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Her parents talked with WLWT about how they are keeping her memory and legacy alive in an exclusive interview.

"It's still pretty fresh. It's not even been six weeks," said Holly Gibson, Sable's mother. "I can't even really imagine in 10 years that we'll feel any different. We just have such a hole in our hearts right now that will always be there."

The Gibson household is a little quieter these days, now missing the smallest and sixth Gibson sibling.

"You get lost in your own grief," said Sable's father, Scott Gibson. "We're learning to be more generous and more intentional, which is what Sable already was. Even at 10 years old, she was way more generous than I am. She was way more intentional and didn't even know it."

Monday was particularly emotional. It was the birthday of one of Sable's closest friends, Bella. She and three of Sable's other best friends visited the Gibsons for a birthday party. It marked the first birthday Sable was not able to attend.

"So how many times have you brought up Sable's name today?" Holly asked the girls.

Scott Gibson said seeing the group is one of the most difficult parts, because he sees so much of his daughter in her friends.

"We're not OK ... We'll never be OK," Scott Gibson said. "We'll never forget her. She'll always be a part of our lives. Unfortunately, we know we have to move on. It's hard," he said through tears.

Her parents say Sable was easy to be proud of, easier to love and impossible to forget. They have shed many tears and have been on the receiving end of many hugs and prayers, as well as thousands of greeting cards, some from complete strangers.

Now, they're launching a charity effort that mirrors the acts of kindness for which Sable was well known. They are naming it the Shine Like Sable Foundation and beginning fundraising efforts immediately.

"It gives us a chance to see some good come out of this, if there is any," Holly Gibson said.

Scott Gibson said they will fundraise and volunteer for any cause they see fit and already have several in mind. The foundation is modeled after Sable's selflessness, kindness and what her father calls a "sixth sense for caring and helping people."

"As soon as we get it, it's our desire to ... let's get rid of it and keep that as close to zero as the bank will allow us to," he said. "That's our goal."

A board, made up of businessmen and women and parents in the community, will oversee the foundation.

"So this keeps her memory alive," Holly Gibson said. "Helps. Little reminders along the way."

The Gibsons plan to use money raised through the foundation to give back to Children's Hospital and child life specialists at the hospital, send backpacks of food home to children in need, fund a therapy dog at a Mason library and send at-risk children to Kings' Island, among other goals.

Several fundraisers have already been announced.

At Sonder Brewing in Mason, there is a fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The official kickoff fundraiser is scheduled at Kendra Scott in Liberty Center from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 25.

The foundation is also selling t-shirts, sweatshirts and other apparel on the 'Prayers for Sable Gibson' Facebook page through April 30th. Additional fundraisers and events will also be posted on the page.

Anyone interested in donating to the foundation to send a check payable to "Shine Like Sable" to 4479 Meadowbrook Lane Mason, Ohio, 45040. The Gibsons expect the option to donate electronically to be available by the end of the week.

"It really is shine like Jesus," Holly Gibson said. "It's a daily reminder to do that, but I think everyone can remember Shine Like Sable, too."