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With Mounting Medical Expenses & Needs, Teacher is Surprised by Former Student's Generosity

Covington Catholic art teacher Tim Haders and his wife Kathy have been faced with a tremendous challenge after her health quickly deteriorated over the past couple of years.

Kathy suffered a stroke 20 years ago from which she never fully recovered. Then she was diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis this past September. The Haders found it difficult to continue to care for Kathy in their current home and are faced with either having to make major renovations or look to purchase a new house that would better accommodate her special needs. 

Both options are expensive and the funds for such a major adjustment are lacking. Zach Holbrook who graduated from Cov Cath in 1995 and is a former student of Tim, was moved by the story of what was happening to his former art teacher's family and decided something needed to be done to help out. After learning more about the situation, he launched an effort to help raise money for the Haders' cause and gave it 30 days to hopefully raise enough money for the necessary renovations or relocation. The campaign began on May 7 and will conclude June 7.

The campaign hopes to raise $75,000. In just five days, it has accumulated more than $16,000.

“I just caught wind of the situation about three weeks ago. I try to stay involved with Cov Cath. I go in for different things, so I heard that Mr. Haders was trying to retrofit his house to accommodate his wife, which I didn't know why she needed help,” Holbrook said. “But as I explored it further, I discovered that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her condition had been getting really bad in the last couple of years and I really had no knowledge of it, but through talking with a couple of different guys about it, I learned that he really didn't have the money that he needed to make the renovations. They were also looking at possibilities of buying a one-story ranch-style house.

“Catholic school teachers, the salaries they make are really bad and I don't know what he makes. I just know that it's tough to make ends meet. So I just felt compelled to start to talk to some people, alumni that are friends of mine, that were really effected by Mr. Haders when we were at school. We put together this campaign to try to make their lives a little easier.”

Holbrook and his fellow supporters aren't sure of the cost of the renovations, but he says that he knows every little bit helps. 

We've gotten some incredible responses and comments from people about how he's inspired them and changed their life. It's been a really cool thing so far,” Holbrook said. “I'm sure that it will taper off a little bit, but I think that more people that know about it the more people will donate. Even if they don't know the Haders, they might just want to support those with multiple sclerosis.”

Holbrook moved behind the scenes to put all of this together before talking about it with Tim. He said that initially Tim was unsure about the attention but once he read the comments about him and his wife and the incredible dollar amount that was raised so quickly, he became extremely thankful and moved by the generosity of his community.

“Before we started it, I went up to school and asked him what he thought and if he would be comfortable with it and he was kind of unsure but he sent me an email just this morning and it was actually an incredible thank you,” Holbrook said. “He didn't really know anything yesterday and people at school were already talking about it. He said that when he started reading all the comments on the fundraising website, that he and his wife were just gushing tears and they couldn't believe the love and the support that he's been receiving from the campaign.”

Holbrook said that there will be a reception of some sort on the last day of the campaign where the Haders will receive the money that will go toward the accommodations for Kathy. Details of that event have yet to be worked out.

Anyone wishing to donate funds for Tim and Kathy Haders can do so at Hadersfund.com, where individuals can enter in the amount they would like to contribute.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: Kathy Haders (provided)