Booker students throw benefit concert for classmate girl recovering from brain surgery


SARASOTA – The odds were against her.  A Suncoast teenager has emergency brain surgery after a freak accident and the community is coming together to support her with a benefit concert.

17-year-old Isabella Smith lights up talking about her love of theatre.  She’s a rising star at Booker High’s school VPA’s theatre Department.

“It’s an adrenaline rush, you get on stage and everyone around you is so nervous but you are performing what you love and you are singing, you’re dancing and your acting, your like stepping in the shoes of someone else,” said Smith.

But all that was almost taken away from her after a freak accident during rehearsal.

“All I remember is being kicked in my head, like my temple area,” she explained.

Unaware of the severity of her injury, Smith remained at school until the pain became unbearable.  She went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and tests revealed something was wrong. Her brain to shifted to the left side and blood was filling up in her ear, jaw and brain causing a epidermal hematoma.

“And they were like we need to prep her for an emergency craniotomy,” said Smith.

Isabella’s mother, Renee says the whole thing happened so fast.

“Trying to comprehend everything that you are being told at that moment and you’re looking at your kid and then being told, they might not make it, it’s very hard,” said Isabella’s mom.

Even harder for her as the month prior she learned her husband has stage four cancer. Having a recurring nightmare, everything she holds dear could be taken away.

‘We have this little thing when we do these little pow wow’s and it’s just the three of us and we hug each other and we laugh and we giggle and in the dream I’m hugging everybody and when I wake up, I’m the only one left,” said Renee.

When Emma Johnson and other students in the theatre department learned about what happened they wanted to help in the best way they know how.

Here comes the Sun is a benefit concert to raise money for the Smith family organized entirely by students.

“We just have such a close feeling of family in the department that it’s like  second nature  of course we are going to do as much as we can to help her,” said Johnson.

Here Comes the Sun benefit concert will be Thursday at the Music Compound at Tickets are $10  and will cover the Smith’s family medical bills.  There will be a silent auction and other events.

Those interested in donating goods or services to the silent auction may contact Tanya Jones at To make donations, contact:


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