Teachers are the unspoken saints of humanity. While they devote their lives to educating and molding the young minds of our world, they are often times underpaid and undervalued in society. Case in point–56-year-old Robert Goodman.
The history teacher from Palm Beach, Florida absolutely loves his job. But, unfortunately, he was diagnosed with colon cancer this year. His diagnosis required chemotherapy treatment and several surgeries. Goodman, who has been off from work due to summer vacation, has been documenting his journey through treatment on his Facebook profile.
However, Goodman is not quite finished with his treatment process, and with the school year beginning soon, realized he does not have enough sick days to cover the amount of time he would need off to complete his treatment and give him adequate time to heal. He did some deep research into his school district’s policies and realized he was 20 days short to qualify for the “catastrophic leave” policy they have in place.
While the district doesn’t make exceptions and give out free sick days–they do have a clause that states employees can donate their sick days to colleagues who need them. In an effort to maintain his career and keep his health in order, Goodman asked for help on Facebook from any friends he has who can donate their days, saying:
Urgent Help Now: Battling Cancer Chemo : 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. You can email Human Resources to Juan.firstname.lastname@example.org to donate. If not I’ll be reporting back to work on August 6 and I will never have another opportunity to apply for the leave of absence. Thank you all either way for your support during this time in my life.
Within only four days, Goodman’s co-workers and colleagues donated 100 sick days–allowing him to take off the entire semester to receive treatment and recover. The teacher was incredibly grateful to everyone that works in the school district who heard his story and decided to so graciously donate the days. He posted a heartfelt thank you on Facebook saying:
One of my dear friends wrote: “Robert is experiencing Humanity at it’s best “taking care of each other in love”. It is true – I have been approved for Catastrophic Leave of Absence and have additional sick days to further my chemo treatments and recovery time. I was showered with the an abundance of love that I have never experienced before and it is life changing. I will forever hold this experience in my heart with gratitude and love and will start each day with the mindfulness that we all really do love each other and want to help each other, we just need the opportunity to give and receive and that is our common thread. I want to thank all the teachers, support staff, administrators, and Juan Diaz in HR for helping me in this most challenging time in my life. I also want to express my gratitude to my Principal Larry Clawson and his most helpful secretary Kelly Matyjasik for always making sure that I was taken care of. God Bless all of you we are all linked together through our love and that is huge! PS All of you made this happen in four days.
With a little bit of help, time, and selflessness, we can all make the world a better place. What a touching story of kindness. Get well soon, Robert!