STANBERRY, Mo. -- After Vatterott College abruptly closed this week, students have been left with no answers, and staff are now unemployed. For one teacher, losing his job could mean the difference between life and death.
“I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer about two years ago,” said Corky Goodpasture, the former program director for automotive and diesel technologies at Vatterott College in KC.
Goodpasture isn't focusing on his disease this holiday season. Instead, he's playing Santa Claus, for free, at several different events.
On Friday, he was taking wishes from the employees of Opportunity Workshop Incorporated, a workplace for people with mental disabilities who manufacture all sorts of products. It was their opportunity to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.
"He asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and for him to be able to beat the cancer," was OWI employee Chris Frederick’s wish.
Goodpasture’s cancer has spread to his liver. His fight to live includes chemotherapy treatments every two weeks, which he can no longer get.
“Yeah, because at the same time they locked the doors, they said your medical benefits stop right now,” Goodpasture said.
He got a lump of coal from Vatterott, so it will take a Christmas miracle to continue his fight.
"It is a matter of, if I don’t get treatments, they put a time stamp on me,” he said.
Without treatments, that stamp has an expiration date of just 8-12 months.
As selfless Santa, when asked Goodpasture’s Christmas wish? He gives it to his former students.
“For them, I just don’t want them to give up on themselves and stop that goal that they were trying to achieve,” Goodpasture said. “Watching these kids grow up and mature and become professional and be able to go out and find that job that was going to change their life. And I was a part of that and it’s just something. It’s just awesome.”
If you want to help provide a miracle his holiday, a GoFundMe page has been set up here.
Several local colleges and universities are stepping up to help students affected by the sudden closing of Vatterott College.
KC Degrees, a division of the Mid-America Regional Council, has been working with its 17 partner institutions in the region to help align resources and remove barriers for students.
So far Donnelly, KCK Community College, MCC, the University of Central Missouri and Western Governors University Missouri have pledged to help affected students.