Teachers Pool Sick Days for a Colleague Fighting Cancer


Robert Goodman, 56-years old, is a history teacher at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School, situated in Florida. In April, he had been experiencing bowel discomfort. Reports from his colonoscopy revealed stage III colon cancer. Right after a month, he had to go through surgery for tumor removal growing in his colon walls and forty-four lymph nodes, with three of these tumors malignant.

Goodman refuses to show any sort of weakness in front of his students and aspires to get healthy and continue his profession at the school. Six months of chemotherapy has been prescribed but at his age, he knows he would need more time to recover from physical and emotional exhaustion. To become eligible for a “catastrophic leave of absence”, Goodman is short of twenty sick days. This leave would guarantee him six paid weeks of leave.

Goodman took to Facebook asking if any teachers from the school district could donate him 20 sick days, enabling him to complete his treatment and recover better from chemo, all in about 12 weeks. He posted an image of himself while he received his treatment and contact of the HR department of his school for donations. Goodman wants to be self-sufficient, but given his story, he really needs help and it’s a good means to share his story.

The response he received was amazing and heart-warming. Employees from the school district donated enough sick days that they would cover for a whole one semester. The generosity of the people was one of the most beautiful things that could happen to Goodman’s story. Even out of state teachers and professors from universities wanted to donate sick days, and not only sick days, Goodman received grocery store gift cards, people offered to tune in his piano, to come mow his lawn. Goodman gladly calls these gestures as “beautiful, wonderful offers.”

Taken with this marvelous bonding he formed with so many unknown people who were kind enough, he plans to throw them a party when he feels healthier. These donors are so far anonymous.

Goodman acknowledges the devotion of the people to goodness, they could have stored up these sick days for retirement but they gave them to him. Goodman calls it “…so much humanity happening. It’s healing.”

With so much love, Goodman indeed will recover better both physically and especially, emotionally