Closings and delays

Local educator keeps teaching despite battle with cancer

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- When you’re walking to MaryLou Creal’s classroom, it’s hard to miss the superhero-themed items on the outside wall and on her door.

Creal teaches a variety of science courses at Meadowbrook Academy in Stokes County, but there’s one lesson she’s sharing with students that can’t be found in a textbook.

“Last October, I was diagnosed with stage II cervical cancer,” she said. “We were very, very aggressive with the treatment. I had daily radiation after school every day.”

She lost her hair, her body was running on empty, but she has still managed to continue teaching.

“It’s a strength that does not come from me, but from the Lord above,” she said.

Creal could have gone on disability and says even her doctors were surprised she chose to stay in the classroom.

“It was brutal, but I prayed about it and I felt like there was something more that I needed to teach besides science,” Creal said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, it matters how many times you get back up.”

Since making that decision, Creal has inspired so many people around her.

“I don’t know anybody that is stronger than her in my life right now, and I really do mean that,” student Jordan Caudle said.

“She’ll help anybody no matter what,” student Noah Myers said.

Creal says it has been touching to know that students are praying for her.

She also had students make what’s called a “cup of faith.”

They wrote down Bible verses and placed them in the cup so she could grab one when she was feeling discouraged or in need of encouragement.

At one point, Creal was in remission, but the cancer came back in a more aggressive form.

She currently goes through chemotherapy once a week for three weeks at a time.

She’s still fighting and that’s the greatest lesson she hopes to teach.

“Life goes on and I still have something to give and if I quit, then the enemy wins, cancer wins, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

Meadowbrook Academy is hoping to gain community support to help Creal with financial expenses.