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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 19May00

Summarized by Eileen Bell

Profile of LDS Woman Shows Her Courage
(Mother Courage: Concord woman cares for her own large brood -- and the kids at Ygnacio Valley High)
San Francisco Chronicle pg1 12May00 P2
By Peggy Spear

CONCORD, CALIFORNIA -- This article is the moving story of Concord, California, special education assistant Pat Parscal. A busy mom of five children and grandmother of 14, Sister Parscal began working at Ygnacio Valley High School ten years ago.

A convert to the LDS Church at 14, Sister Parscal has lived in Concord for 51 of her 62 years. "I was an army brat, with alcoholic parents. I knew what I wanted for my family, and it wasn't the life I grew up with. So I've made one that I think is pretty special. My kids at school can't fathom that I still live in the same place and have been married to the same man for all this time."

As her youngest child was getting ready to graduate in 1989, Sister Parscal was in school herself, hoping to get her teaching credentials. After a health class on breast self-examination, she decided to practise the technique... and found a lump on one of her breasts. She was diagnosed with cancer and had a mastectomy four days later.

She went through several rounds of chemotherapy, as she also took care of her husband Bill who suffers from diabetes and who has had several strokes. "With the cancer and Bill's illnesses, I couldn't get my credential, but I knew we needed good health benefits. So I took a job as a special education assistant." She has become a favourite in the high school, earning the top teen compliment of being "cool" from her kids. "In special education, you need to give these kids special skills - - you really have to let them know you care; you have to be a mother to them."

Co-worker Mitzi Merek teaches the Special Education class that Sister Parscal assists. She says her assistant makes all the difference. "She's a goddess, simple as that. In special ed, you need a partner who can almost know what you are thinking. Pat's like that. She always knows what needs to be done."

Sister Parscal credits her membership in the Church for the balance in her life. "It is my social life, my outlet and my classroom." Her children are active in the Church, and raising her grandchildren in the faith. "And I just hope it gives them the security and sense of family that it has given me over the past 50 years."


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