In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, we provide a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.

Who: Charismatic Robert J. “Robbie” Stranieri loves to make people happy and smile, especially his wife, Elizabeth; his sister, Nicole; mother, Beth; and aunt, Maureen. The 28-year-old HVAC technician from Moosic and his wife love spending time with their two dogs and had been working hard to save up for their dream home and to start a family. Just as they were about to put a deposit on a house, Stranieri was rushed to hospital, where he spent four days in the intensive care unit and received a diagnosis of ketoacidosis as a result of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as his numbers fell between both categorizations. The next few months will be dedicated to extensive testing to better determine which form of diabetes Stranieri has.

What/when/where: Donations are being accepted through and also can be sent payable to Robert or Elizabeth Stranieri at 605 Hickory St., Old Forge, PA 18518. Also, family friend Amanda Thompson, who designs custom embroidery items ranging from family attire to women’s handbags, is selling raffle tickets to benefit the Stranieris through the fundraising tab on her website,, and the Polka Dot Prints Inc. Facebook page.

Why: Proceeds will help the couple, who are uninsured and already living paycheck to paycheck, with the financial burdens of treatment, care, testing and medicine throughout Stranieri’s road to recovery and lifestyle change.

In his own words: “It’s hard asking for help, but after seeing the recent support from my friends and family these past days, I’m very appreciative of the love that surrounds me and my loved ones. Still, in this time of trouble, I focus on the love and good in my life. I look forward to making people laugh again and sharing my newfound knowledge of diabetes. As Bill Withers sang, ‘We all need somebody to lean on.’” — Robert J. Stranieri


Update: More than 60 people attended Strike Out Cancer, a bowling benefit held Sunday for stage-IV bladder cancer patient Jean Marie Ogden Jones, making it a huge success. And while Jones was unable to attend as she is recovering from recent surgery, her family hopes that she will be able to be moved to a rehab facility closer to home by the holidays. Donations for medical expenses still can be made at or sent payable to Jean Jones at 14 Shady Lane, Jefferson Twp., PA 18436.