Poker community rallies behind Drea Renee amid family tragedy

Dave Consolazio
Published by:
Posted on 09/15/2021

On the morning of Tuesday, September 14, Erik Seidel sent out a tweet that quickly made its way through the poker community. “This is such a tragedy,” Seidel wrote. “If you know Drea [Renee], you know she lights up every room she’s in with positive energy. She’s one of the most special people I know. Help if you can.”

Along with this message, Seidel posted a link to the Audrey Gray Memorial GoFundMe page. According to the memorial page, Drea Renee’s sister Audrey Gray passed away on September 10th at the age of 35 years old due to COVID-19 complications. While part of the money raised in this fundraiser will go towards Gray’s medical bills, funeral, and memorial service, the rest will go to resources for her four children; Kenya (14 years old), Zyaire (10), Vincent Jr. (9) and Nijeria (7).

The impact of this tragedy was clearly felt in the poker community among friends and coworkers of Renee, a well-respected poker reporter and massage therapist. “Terrible tragedy, let’s get behind one of our own,” Jason Koon tweeted. “Sending love to Drea, please help if you’re able,” Brandon Shack-Harris posted. Seidel’s tweet was retweeted over 40 times.

Making an impact

Members of the poker community did far more than just spread the word on Twitter, however. They also did their part to help. Within 16 hours, the Audrey Gray Memorial fund had reached its goal of $25,000 raised. Over 100 people have contributed to the fund, including Seidel, Koon, Shack-Harris, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Maria Ho, Vanessa Kade, and many more.

At the time of this publication, $31,488 has been raised for the family of Audrey Shanay Gray. As mentioned above, additional money raised will benefit the children. Per the description from the memorial’s GoFundMe page;

“This GoFundMe is for them. This will not only help the family with Audrey’s medical bills, funeral and memorial service, it will also help look after these young children as they get situated with basic essentials and back on their feet while adjusting to such an unexpected turn of events. And for their futures as a trust will be set up in their names.”

Just one month ago, poker players and former friends of Layne Flack came together to raise over $25,000 for Layne Flack’s daughter Halie after his passing. The poker community sometimes gets a bad rep, but there is no denying that it possesses plenty of kind and charitable folks.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter – GoFundMe