After the sudden death of his 10-year-old sister, Sable, Miami sophomore Cross Gibson and his family wanted to create a lasting legacy for their daughter and the kindness she always shared with others.
The Gibson family started Shine Like Sable, a foundation that has helped to provide food to students in need in their hometown of Mason, Ohio.
“She was very loving, kind [and] witty,” said Sable’s mother, Holly Gibson. “[She] had a sarcastic side, was a jokester, and she was a good friend.”
Scott Gibson, Sable’s father, said he always knew their youngest daughter had a sixth sense and knew when somebody was hurting.
At Western Row Elementary School, Sable was known for hovering near the Buddy Bench, where students sit when they’re sad or need a friend.
“That’s just her. That’s who she was,” Scott said.
Sable’s passing was sudden. She suffered cardiac arrest that was related to strep throat and influenza.
“We found ourselves trying to figure out how we were going to get past this,” Scott said, “because this [grieving process] is not a healthy place to be.”
Holly and Scott connected with loved ones and their community in the aftermath. They wanted to thank the teachers at Western Row Elementary School by giving them donuts from Servatii Pastry Shop because they “poured a lot of life into her for years,” Scott said.
One teacher, Robyn Thomas, mentioned she planned to save the donuts for the students who get food sent home with them every Friday. The Gibsons were shocked to hear that there were 68 students who got food sent home with them every Friday in a “well-to-do community” like Mason, Scott said.
If there is no food to send, the students don’t go home with anything. After learning this, Holly and Scott wanted to find a way to help. This led to the creation of Shine like Sable.
The tagline came from a friend of Holly’s, who made pink wristbands with the phrase while Sable was still in the hospital, Holly said.
“Our daughter really had a sense of caring for people at such a young age,” Scott said. “We’re just trying to carry that on [through] things she would be interested in, like helping others.”
Jonathan Sams, Scott’s friend and attorney, set up the foundation with the Ohio Board of Education. The foundation now comprises of eight people from the Mason area.
Though the foundation was officially created on March 24, there are already events set in place. Scott emphasized the importance of “making connections.”
“So far, everything we have done has been through word of mouth,” Holly said. “It seems like everybody knows somebody who is willing to help.”
General Mills, Inc. has partnered with the foundation to donate extra cereal to Western Row for food insecure students. Sonder Brewing is donating all proceeds of its new drink for April to the foundation. The Kendra Scott Jewelry Store in Liberty Center mall will donate 20 percent of its proceeds on April 25, and The Casual Pint restaurant will have a wine tasting on May 10.
“It’s kind of a way to redirect our grief,” Holly said. “Instead of sitting and wallowing in our grief … [we’re] trying to do what she would want us to do.”
Sable’s personality lives on through the foundation.
“When we say shine like Sable, that’s truly what we want to do,” Holly said. “Just use some of her attributes she had in her short 10 years to make us all better people.”