As history teacher Robert Goodman was enduring grueling rounds of chemotherapy to combat his colon cancer, he realized he was quickly running out of sick leaves. Goodman had been teaching at a high school in Florida, U.S.A. for 23 years, and he simply could not work while receiving treatment—but he could not go without an income, either.
The fear of having to deal with the side effects of his chemotherapy while being surrounded by his pupils spurred the 56-year-old teacher to take a selfie and share it on Facebook with a cry for help. He reached out to other educators in the Florida state—whose school system allows teachers to exchange—or donate—sick leaves with one another.
See his Facebook post below:
The response to Goodman’s post was overwhelming! Within four days, the whole teaching community rallied around him. He received around 100 days of sick leave from university professors, teachers, and lunchroom workers, allowing him to take a much-needed semester off to continue his treatment and take time to recuperate. And to think that these are sick leaves that these people could have cashed if they ended up not using them! “They were in a sense giving me their retirement money to help me heal,” Goodman said.
Now he won’t have to worry about heading off to work while fighting his deadly tumor, which, unfortunately, was only detected when it was at a late stage 3. He said that the first thing he has planned when he returns to work in January is a musical thank-you event for all those who helped him in his time of need. “When hundreds of people shower you with their love, it’s a life-changing experience,” he said.
This feature is based on an article by Aleteia. Words by Cerith Gardiner. Edited for My Pope Philippines by Aizel Dolom.
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