Someone You Should Know: Student Bake Sale Helps Hospital

Rugby, N.D. - Here's a piece of advice for you: never underestimate a fifth grader with a bright idea.

Take Brooklyn Hager, for instance. She's a fifth grader at Ely Elementary School in Rugby — and when she heard from her dad that Heart of America Medical Center, Rugby's hospital, was in economic trouble, she couldn't just sit by and watch it happen.

"Something inside me told me to do it," says Brooklyn Hager.

Her cousin Rylah Hager remembers the idea's inception: "She came running in, like: 'You guys! We need to raise money for the hospital!'"

"It caught us all by surprise," says Patrick Branco, Heart of America Medical Center's CEO. And the "it" he's referring to is a bake sale — organized by Brooklyn, Rylah, and their friends — to help the hospital. 

"One week," Branco says. "They did this in one week - pulled together this program."

Usually, fundraisers for outside organizations are a no-go at school. But Brooklyn's idea to sell treats at a Rugby Panthers basketball game got the OK — and it caught on like wildfire.

"At school, people told their parents about it," Brooklyn explains. "Then those parents told their friends, so that even as we started selling, people were still bringing stuff."

Branco says he couldn't believe the scope of the sale. "The table was about forty feet long and stacked three deep with plates of cookies and brownies."

"I think people kind of liked the idea," says Brooklyn. "And I think some of them were a little surprised that kids did it all by themselves."

But even more amazing was the sales figure: the bake sale raised $1,625.88 for the hospital.

"It was a very good feeling," Rylah says.

Brooklyn agrees. "My sister had already gone to bed but I ran to her room and was jumping up and down telling her how much we had raised."

Brooklyn presented the donations to the hospital last week. And according to CEO Patrick Branco, those dollars and cents will go a long, long way.

"Now I'm absolutely certain we will survive," the CEO says. "And I'll give credit to Brooklyn — because I think that kind of spirit and enthusiasm does save the hospital."

So how will Brooklyn's big donation be used? For the moments, it's a secret — but Branco says it will go toward a "very important" project that will include Brooklyn Hager's name.

She's a fifth grade fundraising phenomenon — and she's someone you should know.

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