How to help
To make a donation or purchase a raffle ticket, visit www.lanierpartners.org\store
Since being born at only 24-weeks, Katelyn Jo Haban has defied odds for survival and has gradually progressed, as has the raffle being organized to support her family.
Tom Petska, a friend of Hall Sheriff's Deputy Joey Haban and his wife, Kristina, has been working feverishly to raise money for the Habans, who have incurred mounds of debt due to medical expenses.
A date has been set for 6 or 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Cocktail Cove Bar and Grill in Roswell to raffle off an official NASCAR hood from Turner Motorsports belonging to the No. 38 Great Clips car. Petska previously won the hood at another auction.
After multiple surgeries and other medical costs, Joey Haban has maxed out his county health insurance, is over $1 million in medical debt and recently underwent foreclosure on his home.
When Katelyn Jo was born in May 2010 only weighing 15 ounces, doctors were skeptical of her survival. However, she has since made remarkable steps toward leading a normal life.
Joey Haban works 12-hour shifts at the Hall County Sheriff's Office and works multiple part-time jobs just to provide for his family.
Kristina previously worked for the Arcade Police Department, but had to resign to care for Katelyn Jo.
Joey Haban said Katelyn Jo's condition has progressed slightly. She still requires a feeding tube to eat, but she was approved by doctors to be removed from oxygen during the daytime.
"She's cutting a lot of teeth right now — which is odd for a child like that to cut five teeth at once, so she's not eating as well as she was — but she's still doing well," Joey Haban said. "It's kind of the same old same old."
A previous date had been set for Sept. 11 to hold the raffle, but Petska opted to postpone in order to raise more money.
"I'm not going to give (Joey Haban) a check for $1,000," Petska said. "It's wouldn't be fair to him."
He has since raised about $7,000 of his goal of $20,000. A single anonymous donor gave a $5,000 donation and Petska said he has received other commitments as well.
"I've gotten some other groups that are now saying they're going to throw a couple hundred dollars at it," he said.
Petska said he was very excited when he received a call from the anonymous donor wishing to give to the cause.
"That was a crazy phone call," he said. "I got goosebumps and got emotional and said ‘you're kidding?'"
A Crown Royal representative from Hall County is also donating several neon signs to auction off and donate to the fund.
Petska expects to hold a silent auction Oct. 8 at the Tilted Kilt in Buford to auction the sign and other items that have been donated.
Joey Haban said he has not been informed of the amount that has been donated, but he appreciates the support.
"Tom (Petska) has kept me in the dark about this," he said. "I think it's kind of cool too. It's a surprise all the way around."
Joey Haban said New Holland Baptist Church in Gainesville offered to help the family.
"Every time I get to talk to people about it, it seems like more and more people know about it," he said.
After the anonymous donation and other commitments, Petska said he expects to at least meet the goal of $20,000 if not surpass it.
"I would absolutely love to surpass it," he said. "The sky is the limit and $20,000 is a really good number."