HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — David Green is a history teacher and a father to a 16-month-old girl who was diagnosed with cancer.
The Mae Jemison High School teacher didn’t have any more sick days that he could take to stay with his little girl, Kinsley. His daughter is getting treatment 100 miles from home and she needs him to be there when he can.
So, fellow educators in Huntsville, Alabama, chipped in with their sick days — it added up to 100 days.
“We were blown away with the response that we received with the sick days. We were hoping to get a couple days so he could be here once a week,” Megan Green, Kinsley’s mother, told CNN. “It is a huge blessing and we can’t wait until we are in the position to give back and help others.”
Kinsley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia six months ago and has been going through treatment since then. She still has three to four months of inpatient treatment, but will remain in treatment for the next two years.
Green gets one sick day a month and the Green family needed 40 days, so his wife decided to post on Facebook and see whether teachers were willing to help and donate one sick day.
Wilma DeYampert, an assistant principal at Lakewood Elementary, works in the same school district with Green. She saw the story on Facebook and donated two days. They are the only days she can afford, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February.
“I could not imagine having a child and being away from the child,” DeYampert told CNN. “So, I just thought it was the right thing to do. My mom always said, ‘You don’t have to be rich to bless someone.'”
Most teachers in the United States get one sick day a month. A lack of paid leave has devastating consequences for teachers who can’t afford to take time off for personal sickness or the birth of a child.
Low wages make it impossible for teachers to save for unpredictable situations or emergency expenses. Almost half the teaching workforce lacks access to retirement benefits.
Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary was another school where many teachers came together to help Green.
“You want to send words of encouragement, you want to do something to help, but this was a real physical way that we could help him and his family,” Anna Kachelman, a first-grade teacher, told CNN affiliate WHNT.