Last April, 56-year-old Robert Goodman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. He immediately took a leave of absence to undergo surgery and began a course of chemotherapy to help deal with his illness.
Unfortunately, the Florida public school teacher burned through much of his paid sick leave while undergoing surgery and chemo for the cancer. Even still, he needed more time to get better and complete his course of chemo.
Goodman figured he needed an additional 20 sick days to deal with the remaining chemotherapy sessions ahead of him. Faced with no other choice, the public school teacher decided to try and reach out to his fellow teachers online to see if they could be of any help.
Goodman took a selfie of himself during one of his chemo sessions at Tomsich Health and Medical Center of Palm Beach County and posted it, along with his appeal to his Facebook page on July 23rd.
I work at Pal Beach Gardens High School -I’m looking into catastrophic leave of absence by the school district but I’m short 20 days sick days to qualify for that. Already used 38 days this year already which is all I had left as I was sick a couple years ago and used about two weeks. if I can get 20 more sick days from any teacher or district employee volunteers that would allow me to take more time to recover in battle through chemo for 12 weeks which should be enough time for me to complete at least the treatment so if any of my teacher friends are out there spread the word for me I would appreciate it thank you so much.
In just four days teachers, staff administrative, and even workers in the lunchroom donated up to 75 sick days to Goodman, enough to last him the rest of the semester.
"Educators all over the country were reaching out to me to donate their sick days, even professors over at Florida Atlantic University," he told CNN. "I felt guilty because I knew there were people who had it much worse than me."
Goodman, who has taught history for 23 years at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School says he misses his students and was grateful for the outpouring of support he saw from them.
"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.
Classes at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School began on August 13. Goodman is using his newly acquired sick days to fight cancer and hopes to use his experience to inspire more good in humanity.
"Anybody can get cancer, but not everyone is willing to help," Goodman said. "We all have it in us, but it's good to get back in touch with our compassion."
Photo: Robert Goodman Facebook