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Teachers Donate Their Sick Days to Their Colleague with Cancer

  • Amanda Casanova

    Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and…

  • 2018 Aug 17

Teachers and staff at a Florida school have donated some 100 sick days to a fellow history teacher who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Robert Goodman, 56, used his own sick leave until he ran out in July, but he still needs chemotherapy for colon cancer until October. For this reason, Goodman was faced with the daunting decision to either return to school or take unpaid leave.

"It truly frightened me," he told the BBC. "Chemo really messes with you. I was wondering how I could handle getting up at 5am every day.

"How could I handle all the different side-effects around the kids? How could I handle kids bringing the flu and colds to school?"

The Florida school system allows teachers to exchange sick leave with each other or donate it.

Goodman reached out to his coworkers on Facebook.

"I asked for help. I just didn't expect to get the help in four days," he said.

Some 60 teachers and employees responded to his message. In total, about 100 sick days were donated to Goodman— enough for him to finish his chemotherapy.

"It surprised me how fast it happened," he said. "But it didn't surprise me that teachers gave.

"Teachers always give - it's a profession of giving, but it was extraordinary that so many people were willing to donate those days to me.

With the donation, Goodman does not have to return to school until January 2019.

"They could have cashed those days in when they retired if they didn't use them. They were in a sense giving me their retirement money to help me heal.

"When hundreds of people shower you with their love it's a life-changing experience."

Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Tra Nguyen