Teacher battling cancer runs out of sick days, so fellow employees transfer him theirs

Teacher battling cancer runs out of sick days, so fellow employees transfer him theirs

When Robert Goodman ran out of sick days at work while undergoing treatment for cancer, he was at a loss. The teacher had nowhere to turn and didn't know what to do. Then, in an extraordinary act of kindness, Robert's colleagues rallied together and gifted him with their sick days.

According to CNN, the teacher realised that he needed at least 20 more sick days in order to recover from the treatment for his stage 3 colon cancer. However, Robert had burnt through his, so took to Facebook to issue an emotional plea for help.

Two medics pushing gurney in hospital emergency room Credit: Getty

Posting a picture of himself as he sat in a room at the Tomsich Health and Medical Center of Palm Beach County, Robert explained that he was looking into a booking "catastrophic leave of absence", but he said that he was short of 20 sick days. "Already used 38 days this year already which is all I had left as I was sick a couple years ago and used about two weeks," he wrote.

"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."

If the plea had proved unsuccessful, Robert said that he would have to return to work:

"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."

However, while Robert may have expected some degree of help from his colleagues, what he didn't expect was that within four days of his plea, teachers and staff members would have transferred 75 sick days over to him.

"I couldn't believe it happened so fast," Robert told CNN. "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."

Robert, who has taught history at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School for 23 years, said that support from both students and teachers has helped keep him motivated. "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," he said.

He added: "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."

It's an amazing act of kindness from the teachers, who have helped their colleague in his time of need. As Robert said, we all have compassion in us, it's just on us to show it more.