Americus teachers beat breast cancer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americus teachers beat breast cancer

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September 8, 2006

Americus - - Two teachers are adding a new subject to their lesson plans. It's called faith. That's what the Southland Academy teachers say helped get them through tough times when their health took a turn for the worst.

Her 4 year old students are what keeps Beth KneSmith going.

"They are so much fun, it's like walking into a cartoon everyday."

The pre-kindergarten teacher is going strong today after a battle with breast cancer.

"Once I found out that it was me, I said ok. What do we do?"

She called on her faith. It required her to take constant trips to the doctor and stop working.

"These little people are also germ carriers and that just didn't work with chemo. I took the time to really take care of myself. I realized I had to do what I had to do to get back to normal."

She did it and so did her co-worker Linda Brewer.

"I got pretty sick a couple of times and I was in the hospital from infections and that kind of thing because your immune system is compromised," Brewer says.

The 10th grade English teacher received the same diagnosis and had to take even more time away from school.

"The one thing that I missed so much when I was sick is that I couldn't see my students I couldn't even come to see them."

Couldn't see them or joke with them. She's used to wearing different oddly decorated eyeglasses to class. It helps her bond with her students.

"This has just been wonderful for me to be able to be back just to see the kids, I love it."

Now both teachers have messages of hope - not just to their students, but also to those who need a little inspiration.

"If somebody receives a cancer diagnosis, they need to know this is not the worst thing that can ever happen to you," NeSmith says.

In fact, you can survive and people may never know the difference.

"Same Ms. Brewer, same lady who wears the crazy glasses everyday. They all know me," Brewer says.

They're glad these teachers don't have to call in sick.

Those two women aren't the only cancer survivors at Southland Academy. Another teacher as well as the high school's headmaster beat cancer as well.

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