Friends of a Corona del Mar Middle School teacher whose wife recently died are raising money to help her three children pay for school and other expenses.
Katina Moody Brude, 39, died July 12 following a three-year battle with cancer. Her husband, Chris Brude, teaches English and journalism.
The story was first reported by Corona del Mar Today.
"The reason I'm so focused on this is Katina was such a great mother and such a great friend," said Daniel Patterson, a close friend of Brude as well as a teacher at CdM Middle School. "There was nothing we could do about her health, but this was something we could do about her legacy."
Shannon Eusey, a parent of one of Brude's former students, volunteered to start the fund, which is managed by her company, Beacon Pointe Advisors, Patterson said.
Eusey set up the account in early 2012, after Katina's breast cancer spread to her liver, she said.
Brude, Eusey said, "was one of those once-in-a-lifetime teachers that has an impact on kids."
"I love how the community has just rallied around them," she said, adding that Brude's former students, colleagues and family friends have come together in a difficult time.
Thursday, hundreds attended a service for the 20-year Disney employee at Fairhaven Memorial Park and Mortuary in Santa Ana, Patterson said.
"It was amazing," he said.
The fund will give the Brudes' son, Miles, 4, as well as Katina's two sons from a previous marriage, James, 13, and Daniel, 17, "stability" as the family transitions from being a dual income house, Patterson said. The family would also welcome gift cards to Target or other stores for various household items, he said.
Donations can be made through a PayPal account at brudefund.shutterfly.com. Or, Eusey said, checks can be sent to her office at 24 Corporate Plaza, Suite 150, Newport Beach, 92660.
In a 2012 email to parents, Brude wrote that he and Katina were "amazed, yet not surprised," by an outpouring of support. His wife, he wrote, was "the strongest person I know."