An enduring smile from a teacher-warrior

September 30, 2017

When I first arrived in San Celestino National High School back in 2013, I was fortunate to have known a jolly, optimistic, and very energetic co-English teacher – Ma’am Shirley Malaluan. I was stunned to know that she was a breast cancer survivor, for it doesn’t show in her.  She radiates with positive energy as she shares how teaching helped in getting her life back. 
Her journey with breast cancer started in January 2010. She was 38 that time, happily married with two children. Despite the struggle, she remained an amazing teacher.
Unfortunately, her cancer struck for the second time in September 2015; this time, it was much dreadful. I knew how difficult it was for her. She had undergone through several operations and series of chemotherapy sessions which weakened her body. I even saw her at her most vulnerable state. But one thing that never disappeared is her sweet smile.
“With the love that I am receiving, I started feeling strong enough. I decided to accept it as a challenge for me to fight and win. I know I would get through it by leaning on my faith,” these few words from Ma’am Shirley summed up her strength, faith, and positivity.
She had proven that God is good all the time. The concerns that initially presented themselves as problems eventually turned out to be a blessing. She received help, prayers, and encouragement from people around her, which have consistently lifted up herspirits.
Though she continues to battle with cancer, she persisted in doing what she loves the most – teaching. It would be a shame for us to complain about our daily tasks because there is someone like her, a true warrior whose weapon in facing the battle with a difficult condition is an enduring smile and a genuine desire to teach and share a part of herself.