SARASOTA, FLA.- — A longtime teacher with the Sarasota County School District is battling breast cancer for a second time.
Samantha Morin is a second-grade teacher at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota.
She has taught for nearly 20 years. She wrote a letter to the parents of her second-grade class telling them she won't be returning for the remainder of the school year.
In the letter, she writes, "I have metastatic cancer that has spread to my liver. This explains why I have not been feeling well. So I will not be returning for the rest of the year as I need to take this time to work on feeling better."
Morin beat breast cancer more than a decade ago. Recently, she went to the doctor after not feeling well.
Parent Nicole Van Blarcum is also a breast cancer survivor. Her children had Mrs. Morin as their second-grade teacher.
"We formed a really tight bond because I am also a breast cancer survivor and I shared my story because I was going through some surgeries at that point. We kind of bonded at that and we came pretty close friends and fast forward to now my daughter is now 7 and is in her class," said Nicole Van Blarcum, a parent.
Colleagues are raising money through a GoFundMe page for medical bills and loss of income.
"She has a heart of gold. She is the most empathetic person and she's just amazing. She had my daughter go from not even liking reading that much to reading chapter books all the time during a pandemic," said Jaime Vieira, a Spanish teacher at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus.
Parents and colleagues want to relieve Mortin of any financial stress so she may focus on her health. Parents and students are looking at other ways to raise money.
"Sam and her big heart, she doesn't want the kids to know the severity of her illness. She doesn't want them to stress and worry," said Vieira.
"Right now, they're just aware that she's sick and that we're sending kindness, lots of kindness and love."
Morin was born and raised in Sarasota. She has a husband and a son who is in kindergarten.
"She's a wonderful mommy and a great person. She's always giving me so much support in the classroom all the time. What do you need? Let me know. She's very generous and so I want to give back the support because she's just such a special person," said Jeannette Nowaski, a kindergarten teacher at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus.