PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A local teacher, with months of chemo treatment still ahead of him, no longer has anymore sick leave to take off work. So, he turned to Facebook to ask for help from colleagues.
Dawn McKeich is getting ready to get back to her kindergarten classroom Timber Trace Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens at the beginning of next month.
“It’s not the easiest job in the world, but I have to say it’s the best job. We always want to look out for each other,” McKeich said.
Recently, she saw teacher Robert Goodman's post on Facebook.
“It said, 'Please help. I need some extra leave time because I need to go into chemotherapy,” she said.
Robert Goodman posted a selfie with a cap on his head and chemotherapy port in chest. He is due back in his classroom at Palm Beach Gardens High School in early August, but he needs more sick time to recover from colon cancer, so he asked for it. He will be undergoing chemo likely through Halloween.
“I never really knew how blessed I was,” said Robert Goodman.
“I feel guilty just being here being interviewed because I know people that have it so much worse than me but it’s really not about me at this point, it’s about the caring of all these people that are trying to help me right now,” Goodman said.
Dozens of colleagues stepped up, including Dawn, who doesn’t know Robert.
“I shared it and I’m also donating a day too because if I can help someone get extra help with their health, I would love to,” McKeich said.
Three years ago, a week into school, McKeich's kidneys failed. She did not work for 45 days, but the teaching community stepped up then too.
“We’re like a family, especially from school to school. You’re a family. We all have to look out for each other,” McKeich said.
They helped get her classroom squared away, with medical bills, and cooked meals for her kids when she couldn’t.
“I think that’s something that all of us human beings have in us but I know definitely that teachers are always giving all the time and then when one of their own needed help they stepped up,” Goodman said.
He teaches history, so he knows the human condition well. This is a lesson in empathy.