"Teacher of the Year" loses battle with rare cancer - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

"Teacher of the Year" loses battle with rare cancer

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ROSWELL, Ga. -

A beloved teacher, who helped mold minds at Mimosa Elementary for nearly six years, lost her battle with a rare cancer, but her courage is something friends say can't be taught in a classroom.  

Laughter was her preferred medicine, but Michelle Wexler spent much of the past year undergoing chemotherapy treatments. But her friends say she smiled through the pain and discomfort. The 28-year-old teacher was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma, a rare cancer.

"She was most concerned about everyone else being concerned about her," said Lauren Holtz, Wexler's best friend.

The second grade teacher at Mimosa Elementary School in Roswell was honored as the teacher of the year.

Even out of the classroom, she found ways to teach by example. At first, she kept her illness a secret until formulating a plan to help others coping with cancer. She started a blog about her battle to help spread awareness.

"She was a giver and she would do whatever she could other teachers, for her students," said Mimosa Elementary School Principal Lynn Johnson.

Holtz says that Michelle was heading in all the right directions as of a week ago, but then there a deviating development. The cancer had spread. Michelle passed away shortly after in the hospital.

Her final message to her friends was posted through social media telling giving the life lesson: "Just keep swimming."

"Hold on as long as you can. You should never, ever, give up. She believed in life, and that's why I believe she persevered as long as she did," said Holtz.

Grief counselors will be at the school to help students deal with their loss. A celebration of Michelle Wexler's life is scheduled for Monday night at Unity North Atlanta Church.

Friends of Michelle Wexler set up a fund page to help raise money to offset medical expenses. If you want to donate visit the page by clicking here.
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