Who: When Sandy Cameli thinks about her friend since childhood, Judy Sabia, she sees a courageous, faith-filled and loyal pal with a good heart. A “real people person,” Sabia is fun and easy to get along with, Cameli added.
The daughter of the late Bernard and Virginia Pane Sabia, she earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from East Stroudsburg University after graduating from Dunmore High School in 1978. Still living in Dunmore, the 60-year-old has worked as a senior manager of warehouse operations, with employers including the Liz Claiborne distribution center, Toys“R”Us, Diapers.com, Amazon distribution, Sears distribution and National Freight Inc.
What: In 2018, Sabia learned she had liver cancer and needed transplant as soon as possible. It took 18 months to find a match, but Sabia received a new liver in December 2019.
Her health issues didn’t stop there, however. A biopsy of the liver surgeons removed showed Sabia also had a neuroendocrine tumor in her intestinal area that occurs in just 2% of the population. Although still recovering from her transplant, Sabia underwent another surgery in March 2020, this time to remove the tumor. Since then, she also has faced skin cancer.
“It just seemed like the hits kept coming,” Cameli said.
Why: Sabia regularly travels to the University of Pennsylvania for checkups, scans, COVID-19 tests and more, all of which take an emotion, physical and financial toll. She last worked in early 2018, and so her medical costs and living expenses have become overwhelming. Life also can be scary for Sabia, who said she never knows how she’ll feel each day because of all of the medications she takes and their various side effects.
Her family — which includes sister Sharon Telep and husband, Duane; brother Jim Sabia and wife, Dee; numerous nephews and nieces (“the true love of her life”) and several great-nieces — continue to support her at this challenging time. They check in with her daily and help with tasks around the house, like shoveling snow or cutting grass. Sabia said she also misses working because she “loved having people around to see if I could help in any way possible,” but she finds joy in her friends who “have been there for me in many ways.”
Cameli and other loved ones want to raise at least $20,000 to alleviate Sabia’s financial burdens, and if people cannot donate, Cameli said she hopes they will still keep Sabia in their prayers. Sabia is a fighter, her friend added, and has always had “the best attitude about accepting these health challenges because of her deep faith.”
How: The public can donate at the GoFundMe page, “Judy Sabia’s Cancer & Transplant Recovery Fund,” or mail contributions to P.O. Box 403, Dunmore, PA 18512.
In her own words: “(Help) would mean the world to me. Everyone has bills, but this helps to try and alleviate the medical and prescription bills. Unfortunately, it builds up, and I will have to do this for the rest of my life. All I ask is that everyone who reads this just pray for me. Keep me in your thoughts.” — Judy Sabia
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest