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Community Responds To Teacher With Rare Form Of Cancer

Charity3As one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s most adored teachers battles a life-threatening disease, the students and community brightened by Steven Gail are banding together to show their support. 

Spearheaded by Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde and a group of students, Chick-fil-A will host a fundraiser for Gail, also known as “Mr. G” and “The Singing Substitute,” this Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. at its Valencia location.  


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Gail has taught in the Santa Clarita Valley for 11 years, winning the affection of students for his vibrant personality and creative teaching style. A gifted singer, what might be a droll lesson plan receives a musical treatment under Gail’s watch.  

So when word surfaced that Gail had been diagnosed with T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, which affects only two percent of leukemia patients, his many admirers responded immediately.  

Saugus High School, where Gail frequently substitute teaches, raised $2,100 for Gail’s treatment in November.

"Once I started, I didn't want to stop," said Madeline Altieri, one of the Saugus students behind the fundraising effort.

Speaking of the teacher's health, Altieri said Gail continues to teach at both high schools and colleges.

"It's a step-by-by process," she said. "He's doing pretty well."

While fighting a deadly disease is an incredible task, the support for Gail certainly is equally strong.

“We strive every day to create positive influences at the local level,” said Chick-fil-A Marketing Director James Kneblik. “As soon as we heard (about Gail), we wanted to do something as quickly as possible.”  

At Thursday’s fundraiser, Chick-fil-A will donate 20 percent of all sales to support Gail. There will be a bounce house for kids, outdoor games and a deejay. Valencia, Saugus, Hart and West Ranch high schools will also provide entertainment.  

Gail will be there as well, said Kneblik.  

Chick-fil-A is located at 24180 Magic Mountain Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 in the Valencia Town Center.