News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 25, 2013

Deming teacher raises almost $10K for medical bills

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — In just a week’s time, Jodi Southard has raised $9,800 toward her $10,000 goal to help Deming Elementary student Katelyn Newell with medical and related expenses.

Katelyn is awaiting a heart transplant.

Southard, a first-grade teacher at Deming, has Katelyn’s younger brother, Robert, in her class.

She’s doing the fundraiser on her own through Teachers Pay Teachers, a website where teachers can sell resources they’ve developed. “It’s teachers creating lessons,” she said.

She started using the site about two years ago and both buys, and sells, lesson plans and other resources there.

Her lesson plans, which she uses with her own students, might sell for as little as $2.50, or at most, $12.

For the fundraiser, she and 21 other teachers who use Teachers Pay Teachers have each donated one of their products.

Those who donate $25 to Katelyn’s fundraiser will receive 22 products, which is about $130 worth of teaching materials, Southard said.

Some went ahead and donated $50 to the fundraiser, while one person donated $100.

The teachers are from across the country, and none knows Katelyn personally.

One of the donors contacted Southard and told how her own daughter had a heart transplant a few years ago. “Her daughter is doing well,” Southard learned.

Through the fundraising project, “I’ve met some neat people and heard some neat stories from it,” she said.

All funds raised will go to meet medical and related expenses for Katelyn, she said. None of the teachers who donated materials will profit.

Southard has a personal reason for doing the fundraiser.

Her brother-in-law, Diyo Muyumba, had a heart transplant one year ago. He is doing well now, she said, but she knows how families can struggle with expenses associated with a heart transplant.

When she learned of Katelyn’s need for a heart transplant, she had to help in some way, she said.

“I can’t imagine what they are going through,” she said.

Once Southard reaches $10,000, the money will go to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association in Katelyn’s name. COTA is a nonprofit national charity based in Bloomington, dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.