Educator dies of COVID-19

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Posted March 26, 2021 | By Ainslie Lee. Ainslie@Ocalagazette

Teresa Twist [Submitted]

After more than a month in the hospital battling COVID-19, Ward-Highlands Elementary School teacher’s assistant Teresa Twist died on Thursday. She was 62.

Twist’s battle with the virus caused irreversible damage to her lungs, leading her family to plea for a lung transplant.

Despite the family’s efforts to convince UF Health Shands, where a transplant could be performed, to adjust requirements for eligibility, the woman’s condition declined rapidly.

On March 24, Price pleaded for the possibility of a transplant for her mother.

A day later, Twist died. She was one of more than 900 people in Marion County to succumb to the virus.

Twist worked as a teacher’s assistant for exceptional students at Ward-Highlands for seven years and leaves behind a campus family that rallied behind her during her fight with the virus.

“It was her dream to work here,” Ward-Highlands’ principal Treasa Buck said.

Twist had volunteered at the school for years before finally becoming an employee. But even after that, Twist spent hours volunteering after work.

Members of Ward-Highlands faculty and staff made a video to lift Twist’s spirits back on March 15.

“She truly treated us like a second family,” Buck said. “It’s hard for all of us.”

According to Buck, guidance counselors and the school psychologist have been in touch with the parents of Twist’s students to help them deal with her death.

Twist also leaves behind her husband of 36 years, Rich Twist.

Rich Twist is still rebounding from his bout with the virus, which left him hospitalized with a blood clot in his lung, an enlarged heart and pneumonia.

According to Price, Teresa Twist was legally blind and did everything with her husband.

“She was not alone during her passing and she passed peacefully,” Price wrote in a Facebook post.

The family plans a memorial service.

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