Teachers donate sick days to colleague fighting cancer

Photo taken from Robert Goodman’s facebook account.

Dubai: Kindness is contagious. Florida public school teacher Robert Goodman is undergoing treatment for cancer and realised he had exhausted all his paid sick days while undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for the disease.

According to the BBC, Goodman was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2018 and used up all his annual sick leave by July.

In a post that went viral, he uploaded a selfie on Facebook of him at the hospital, with a long message. A part of it read: “…Already used 38 days this year… Which is all I had left… 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…”

The post was shared more than 2,000 times and had 600 likes and comments.

What happened after that? People delivered.

According to a report by CNN, within four days of the post, teachers, staff members, administrators and more, transferred 75 of their sick days to Goodman.

The 56-year-old told CNN: “I couldn’t believe it happened so fast… Educators all over the country were reaching out to me… I felt guilty because I knew there were people who had it much worse than me.”

When the story broke, many leading international newspapers and media sites covered Goodman’s viral story. People took to social media to share their well wishes and even talked about Goodman being an “amazing teacher.”

In a recent conversation with BBC, Goodman said his education colleagues had donated “around 100 days” to him for his recovery.

He has been a history teacher at Palm Beach Gardens Community High school for 23 years. He documented his treatment and recovery on social media because it was the easiest way to let people know how he was doing.

He told BBC: “Ever since going on Facebook, I have been messaged by people who had cancer, who survived cancer. It’s been a really wonderful experience. It’s not just teachers who made me feel part of a family. It’s these people as well who helped.”

Goodman “could not face working — not while receiving a debilitating course of chemotherapy that was due to continue until October — or afford to have no income.”

He said: “How could I handle all the different side-effects around the kids? How could I handle [children] bringing the flu and colds to school?”

He also writes music and performs his songs.

He told CNN: “Anyone 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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