Florida teacher with cancer ran out of sick leave, co-workers didn’t let him down

Florida teacher with cancer ran out of sick leave, co-workers didn't let him down
Florida teacher with cancer ran out of sick leave, co-workers didn't let him down

When Robert Goodman ran out of sick leaves while undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy for his colon cancer, he took to Facebook to appeal for help.

The Florida public school teacher posted a picture of himself to his FB page of chemotherapy being fed into his body through a catheter in his chest. Goodman needed at least 20 more sick leaves to be able to go through further chemo treatment, days he didn’t have.

No sooner had he posted his appeal on July 24 from his hospital bed at Tomisich Health and Medical Center in Palm Beach County, that help came pouring in and he had enough leaves to cover the entire semester. Teachers, staff members, administrators, and even lunchroom workers who are with the Florida retirement system pooled in and gave Goodman 75 additional sick days.

The 56-year-old told CNN: “I couldn’t believe it happened so fast.”

He added: “Educators all over the country were reaching out to me to donate their sick days, even professors over at Florida Atlantic University. I felt guilty because I knew there were people who had it much worse than me.”

Goodman has been teaching history at the Palm Beach Gardens Community High School for 23 years; he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in April this year.

Although he says the diagnosis was “terrifying,” he decided to post about his journey with the disease on Facebook.

He said: “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.”

The response that he got on his appeal on the social media site was staggering. Goodman said: “I wasn’t surprised that teachers were giving. Teachers are always giving all the time.”

There was also immense support from the students. He said: “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.”

The classes in the school Goodman teaches at started on August 13. He isn’t there as a temporary situation. As he keeps fighting against the deadly disease the self-described “teacher by day, singer-songwriter by life” is working on songs. He sincerely hopes that his experience fighting cancer will inspire more people to do good. He said: “Anybody can get cancer, but not everyone is willing to help. We all have it in us, but it’s good to get back in touch with our compassion.”


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