Ed Leoni is an inspiration to all of us

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

The life of Ed Leoni offers one of the more inspirational stories in recent memory.

The 51-year-old Jackson cancer survivor and Southeast Missouri State University professor teaches his students how to live a healthy life. There are repercussions that Leoni knows all too well.

At 39, Leoni found out he had cancer. His disease was treated with radiation and surgery. The hardest part -- changing the way he lived -- Leoni did himself. After his bout with cancer, Leoni gave up all caffeine, including coffee and soda.

Leoni had already given up all alcohol. He knows the importance of exercise, choosing to walk most places. Leoni brings his lunch, even when he's eating out with colleagues.

Now, he's passing his knowledge along to his students. He requires them to change their behavior in five areas: spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational and social. Many of his students say that is their favorite class while in college and that Leoni helped them change the way they lived for the better.

Leoni is an inspiration to his students. He also should be an inspiration for the rest of us.

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