Watch CBS News

Community rallies around blind Yuba City teacher now battling leukemia

Yuba City teacher who was born legally blind now battles leukemia
Yuba City teacher who was born legally blind now battles leukemia 02:24

YUBA CITY — A young teacher and Yuba City native has been receiving support from the community after being diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.

She became a teacher after feeling inspired by her own teachers while growing up as a legally blind student.

"I still, at that point, thought it was autoimmune disorders. Once I got all the meds worked out and I'm feeling better, I can go back, but it didn't work out that way," Miranda Smith said.

Smith, 25, was born legally blind. Her struggles in school made her want to drop out.

"It was just hard with my peers being different things like that. It was a stressful environment, stressful time for me," she said.

Two teachers along the way advocated for her and made her feel seen and loved.

"[They] taught me I could be more than my situation," Smith said. "There was more out there for my life, and that was the first time in my life where I was like 'Wow, I might be able to be something.' "

They ended up changing her life and inspiring her career in teaching.

"I decided I would do well in school, I would graduate and I would be a teacher," Smith said. "Because if I could impact just one student's life the way they did mine, that would be enough for me."

"Some of her students, she's already made an impact on their lives," her husband Jacob Fawcett said.

So much so that a former student already had plans to hang out with Ms. Smith. We crashed their frozen yogurt outing and we asked the fourth-grader what made their relationship so special.

"[Ms. Smith is] sweet and kind, and she's nice to everyone," fourth-grader Storm said. "She created a safe space for all of us to talk to her."

"Storm loves hanging out with Ms. Smith, and my wife needs it too," Fawcett said. "She needs days where she can feel as normal as she can."

Smith is now too sick to teach.

"In February, I was officially diagnosed with leukemia and that's when everything kind of changed," she said.

Smith has been feeling symptoms for more than a year and said that although it is cancer, it feels like a relief to finally have a diagnosis. She said she feels supported every day by community members and complete strangers.

"On the days that I'm waking up feeling sickest and most discouraged and overwhelmed, I know that there are people out there striving and praying and hoping for the best for me, and that means the absolute world," she said.

Smith said that the hardest part of all of this is not being able to teach and see the kids' faces when they have that "aha" moment when they finally understand something. She said, for now, she's just going to be taking life one day at a time.

A GoFundMe was set up for Smith if you'd like to donate.

CBS Sacramento cannot guarantee that the money donated to GoFundMe accounts will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering donating, you should consult your own advisers and proceed at your own risk.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.