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Appeal made for ailing Clayton, Henry teacher

Retired educator diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

Bernice (McGarity Wilson) Fausel

Bernice (McGarity Wilson) Fausel

HAMPTON — For decades, Bernice (McGarity Wilson) Fausel taught life sciences and earth sciences to Henry County students in Hampton and Locust Grove, and to Clayton County students in Riverdale.

“Growing up in the country [Hampton], I developed a love for nature, and curiosity,” said Fausel. “There were times you could go out in your yard and you could barely hear a car,” she said from her home in Birmingham, Ala., where she lives with her daughter Barbara “Babs” Wilson. She also has a son, Todd, who lives in Missouri.

Fausel taught from 1965 to 1972 in Henry, from 1972 to 1999 in Clayton and from 1999 to 2009 in Shelby County, Ala.

“I wanted my children [students] to love science and develop their natural knowledge of science, and make it part of their lives,” said the 67-year-old retired educator.

“She was a great teacher,” said one of her three brothers, Alvin McGarity, who still lives in Hampton. Her niece, Karen Lake, of Florida, agrees.

“My aunt gave her all to her students in classes. She was honored with many Teacher of the Year awards in those counties, as well as where she last worked, in Alabama,” added Lake.

Fausel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer six months ago, and Lake, along with her friends, are appealing for help for the family, to defray some of the costs accumulated in treating the former teacher.

“They [doctors at the James McMinn Clinic in Homewood, Ala.] gave me three to six months when I was diagnosed on Feb. 28, of this year. I was getting ready to play, but I’m playing different than I anticipated,” Fausel said, laughing. She had just returned home from chemotherapy treatment.

“Covering science, you talk about robotics ... in my illness, I have found that I take Tai Chi, a little bit of yoga, and medication. When I think of getting well, I think of little bitty robots doing specific jobs in my body. It has benefited me a great deal,” she said.

“This is my biggest science experiment I’ve ever tried,” said Fausel.

With her scientific knowledge, Fausel said she does not try to tell her doctors what to do. “I do check up on everything they give me,” she added.

“You are the only one that can take care of yourself, whether well or ill,” she stressed. “You should not debilitate your life, and make yourself a non-person. I was supposed to be dead by the 28th of this month, but I’m working in the greenhouse, I work in backyard, too,” she said.

She said she has her own garden of baby cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, green gourmet salad, Romaine lettuce, collards, spinach, kale, and peppers. She said she also has mint, thyme, basil and tumeric, and ginger.

She said she developed a love for plants from mother, Jettie Greer. As a youngster, she said her mother also taught her Greek, Latin and little French, “because she wanted us to be able to learn and understand things.

“I’m keeping a positive mental attitude,” said Fausel.

Persons interested in contributing should contact the Regions Bank, Bernice Fausel Medical Fund AL, One Independence Plaza, Homewood, Ala. 35209 Ref: 0176860957, or call (205) 716-1130.