GREAT NECK - It’s a lesson in determination and making a difference, as a former student of Ride for Life founder Chris Pendergast spreads the ALS patient’s message of hope.

Pendergast was a teacher when he was diagnosed with the disease 20 years ago. Since then he’s been educating students about the deadly disease from his wheelchair. Former student, and now fifth-grade teacher himself, Chris Lynch says he was fortunate to have Pendergast as an elementary school teacher.

“He is the sole reason I’m an educator today,” Lynch says.

In an effort to spread awareness, Lynch had Pendergast speak to his students and make a stop at the EM Baker Elementary School in Great Neck on his Ride for Life.

“To be able to say some of my students are being impacted by him is pretty impressive,” Lynch says.