A Florida public school teacher fighting colon cancer and in need of 20 additional paid sick days while undergoing surgery and chemotherapy received an overwhelming response from his colleagues, who donated their sick days.
Robert Goodman, who teaches history at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, exhausted the 38 allotted sick days from his job and needed 20 more to recover from his round of chemotherapy.
Goodman, 56, pleaded in a post on his Facebook page on July 23 for his colleagues to chip in a few sick days so he could qualify for an extended leave of absence to recover from cancer treatments:
The response he received was overwhelming. Teachers, administrators, and even cafeteria workers met his request within four days, donating a total of 75 sick days—enough to cover a semester off.
“I couldn’t believe it happened so fast,” the teacher told CNN.
The 23-year veteran teacher found out in April he had stage III colon cancer and had been documenting his recovery journey on Facebook since.
“It was the easiest way to let people know how I was feeling and at the same time inspire people who were going through something similar,” Goodman said.
When Goodman first broadcast his request, he was not expecting the outpouring of support from so many.
“Educators all over the country were reaching out to me to donate their sick days, even professors over at Florida Atlantic University,” he said. “I felt guilty because I knew there were people who had it much worse than me.”
Although Goodman did not make it back to school in time for the start of classes on August 13, he said he is eager to get back to the classroom to be with his students.
“Students sharing stories of how I’ve positively influenced them was a good reminder of why I chose to teach and why I can’t wait to get back,” Goodman said.