Robert Goodman is a school teacher from Florida. He’s battling colon cancer. As recent as a few weeks ago, Robert had a dilemma. He ran out of paid sick days.
He took a selfie, showing him with a catheter in his chest where chemotherapy treatment dripped. He accompanied the picture with this caption:
“Urgent Help Now: Battling Cancer Chemo: I work at Palm 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 of 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 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.”
His plea found its way around social media. Teachers, administrators, staff members, and lunchroom workers who pay into the Florida retirement system transferred 70 sick days to Goodman.
“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.”
Goodman has taught history for 23 years at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School. He learned he had stage III colon cancer back in April.
“It was terrifying,” he said.
Goodman started documenting his journey on social media. “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.”
He wasn’t shocked by the response to his appeal. “I wasn’t surprised that teachers were giving. Teachers are always giving all the time. When one of their own needs help they’ll always step up.”
Students also reached out to the grateful teacher. “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 finds peace during this tough time by writing and recording music at PeaceField studio. His students will have already started school, but the wise tutor won’t be there. His battle continues. He hopes to use his life experience to inspire some 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.”
Indeed it is, sir. We wish you a speedy recovery so you might return to your students who eagerly await your particular brand of sharing knowledge.