Teacher battling cancer teaches valuable lesson




Posted on February 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 4:28 PM

RICHARDSON - Many teachers will tell you their job was their calling.

That was certainly the case for one Richardson teacher who uses her medical condition to help inspire the students, staff and teachers around her.

For the last 25 years, Mrs. Susan Templer has taught middle school science to countless students. It's her passion.

"I thank God every day when I come to school," she said. "I get in my car and I say, 'thank you;' I get to go one more day."

Templer is a teacher at Richardson North Junior High. In August of 2011, when she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, she did not expect what would happen next.

"My students and the teachers here - when they found out that I was sick - the immediate statement was 'we're not going to let you go," she said.

The students held classroom projects all last year to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer.

"She means a lot to me," said Jayland Cockerham, a seventh grade student. "She actually means a lot to everybody. We all love her."

When Templer was hospitalized and couldn't help her daughter move to college, the teachers did what family would do.

"They took my daughter to college and moved her in," she said.

But, Templer kept bouncing back.

This past summer, when she had internal bleeding and was in a coma for a week, she woke up and immediately began talking about how she needed to prepare for the first day of school.

Teaching her students a valuable lesson about character, she continues to work full time, taking off every other Friday for chemotherapy treatment,

"All this time she's had it, I've never once heard her complain about it," said Abigail Grace McDougal, an eighth grade student. "She's come to school before and she's been like, 'I'm having a bad day,' but she's never once complained about having it."

What Templer wants people to understand is that pancreatic cancer is not the death sentence, especially when you have a support system like hers.

"I still don' know what I did to deserve it," said an emotional Templer. "Like the song from way back, "The Sound of Music," I must have done something right or something good. I never thought I would have anything this wonderful."