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High school community rallies around teacher battling ALS

Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 18, 2016

A Lutz community is banding together, supporting a teacher fighting a deadly disease.

Friday, students and faculty played a kickball game, with money raised going towards Mike Leist's medical bills.

“It’s truly special and amazing,” Leist said.

The history teacher has been diagnosed with ALS, a neuro-degenerative disease without a cure.

“I see resignation that you know everything is happening but he feels loved, I mean, you can just tell….peaceful that he’s got the support,” Leist's wife of 22 years, Lisabeth Leist, said.

Leist's wife is also a teacher at Steinbrenner High School. His three daughters are students.

This school is uniting behind a favorite teacher as he goes through a clinical trial at USF.

“Of all people if I had to choose one that I wouldn’t want it to happen to, it’d be Mr. Leist and you know it was mr. leist it happened to, it didn’t make much sense to me at all,” senior Logan Cagle said.

But as only a great teacher could, Leist is using his own struggle as a lesson for his students.

“Something bad is inevitably going to happen to them someday, obviously it may not be the same thing, but this is what we’re all capable of,” Leist said.

Despite the ALS starting to affect his speech, Leist will keep sharing his wisdom, as long as he can.

“When we first got out the diagnosis, I said wow what do you want to do, and he said I want to keep doing what I love, so that’s what he’s doing,” Lisabeth said.

The entire school community is backing him up.

All donations go directly to the Leist family.