Family turns tragic loss into lasting legacy with ‘Count It! For Cat’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Free throws are one of basketball's simplest practices, but during the annual “Count It! For Cat” event at Hinkle Fieldhouse, they make a major impact.

“'Count It For Cat' has been how much money can we raise, who can we help and how can we have fun doing it in her memory,” J.J. DeBrosse said.

J.J. and his wife lost their daughter, Cat, when she was just 15 weeks old to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as “SIDS.”

“When Cat passed, they asked if you want to do anything in lieu of flowers, and it dawned on us that this could be something that is that silver lining,” DeBrosse explained.

And that's how “Count It! For Cat” was created. Each participant shoots 100 free throws with donations pledged for each shot made.

“That first year, I want to say we had about eight shooters and raised about $14,000,” DeBrosse said.

J.J. and his wife, both Butler alums, created the Catherine “Cat” DeBrosse Memorial Scholarship, which the family awards annually to a Butler female student- athlete. Senior basketball player Sydney Buck is one of the scholarship’s recent recipients.

“They really do embody the Butler Way, which is all about family and helping one another and I’m just so grateful that they chose me and hopefully I can pay it forward to help other female student-athletes in the future at Butler,” Buck said.

Over 10 years, “Count It! For Cat” has raised more than $430,000 for Butler University scholarships. It is almost halfway toward becoming a fully endowed scholarship, with a goal of providing a full ride to a female Butler student-athlete.

“My hope is, that I will see it as a full scholarship and that to me would be the greatest gift,” DeBrosse added.

To learn more about “Count It! For Cat” or to make a donation to Saturday’s event, click here​.