Laughter and music echoed the hallways of Scotts Ridge Middle School.

It was Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, and on this night the school hosted a fundraiser to support Scotts Ridge student, Brooke Blake. She has been battling a rare form of brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) for the past four years — and inspiring the ‘Believe in Brooke’ signs visible all over town. Brooke’s strength and spirit inspired the Scotts Ridge staff to help offset her medical expenses.

Sarah Farina, Scotts Ridge special education department leader, had a vision. She imagined babysitting for students to help raise money for the Believe in Brooke Corporation.

Once the idea was created, it did not take long for a committee to form and a team of 32 staff members to volunteer their Friday night for the cause. They agreed to babysit students in kindergarten through sixth grade for a night.

Parents dropped their kids off for three hours. The kids enjoyed a night of arts and crafts, an escape room, yoga, DJ, pizza and ice cream.

The Babysitting for Brooke event exceeded all expectations. Between donations and registrations of 94 Ridgefield Public School students, the event raised $5,000.

More importantly, Brooke was able to attend the event with a never ending smile across her face. She sang, laughed, and limboed across the dance floor. Brooke had a night of well-deserved fun.

Babysitting for Brooke would not have been possible without the support of the Ridgefield community.

In addition to individual donations, there were local organizations who reached out to help after hearing about the event. The Tutoring Club of Ridgefield, Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, Genoa Deli & Pizza, the Ridgefield Police Department, “DJ Big Daddy” from James Daniel Entertainment, and Posa Ristorante & Vineria all contributed through various donations.

Donations in support of Brooke can still be sent to Scotts Ridge Middle School at 750 North Salem Road, Ridgefield, CT, 06877. Checks can be made out to the Believe in Brooke Corporation.

This memorable night exemplified the spirit of the Ridgefield community and their willingness to support one of our own.

Editor’s note: Leah Hayner is a special education teacher at Scotts Ridge Middle School.