Problem Solvers


How this Navy veteran is finding comfort in his friends after a cancer diagnosis

Posted at 6:46 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 18:56:13-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Fighting the battle of his life, a Virginia veteran whose Cancer is spreading is finding comfort in his friends. The 55-year-old Goochland man is facing mounting medical bills and expenses since the disease caused him to stop working.

His close friends are standing by his side as he faces a huge obstacle. John Sabatini served our country for 15 years and was diagnosed with cancer nearly three years ago. He’s now in stage 4.

His buddies Ben, Dwight, Steven, and Dave didn't hesitate to step up and help. They do their best to always keep John`s spirits lifted. These days he`s doing his best to keep a positive outlook.

John Sabatini and friends

“You can either boo hoo it and fall into depression... or accept it for what it is and say okay I’ll have the best time I can while I’m here, you know?” said John.

John served in various roles in the Navy during both Gulf Wars and he served in Bosnia.

“I was an air intercept controller, anti-submarine controller. Harpoon operator, combat systems senior listed, navy instructor and was in navy curriculum development. It was a great opportunity. I learned a lot. The IT I did after the Navy, I learned while in the Navy. We were the first ship to put a fiber optic LAN inside of the Combatant. I got in on the ground floor of a lot of things” John explained.

Those skills he honed in the military came in handy for his career later on when he worked in Henrico County’s Media Services department. Ben Sheppard was John's supervisor there but now considers him family.

John Sabatini

“Just blew my mind the stuff he can do. He’s the kind of guy who can do anything. At work, he’s the IT manager. When he’s home with friends, he’s got his mom’s Italian recipes, he’ll make any and everything for you," Sheppard added.

For his close friends, it has been emotional watching John deal with cancer. The disease has spread to several parts of his body and he’s unable to work. Friends know John is in a fight for his life It’s why a GoFundMe page was set up to help the veteran with medical bills and expenses.

“I wanted to do whatever I could do to help and raise awareness about this. He`s not the kind of person to reach out or say hey, I need help. It’s tough to see somebody who means a lot to me go through something like this. He deserves to live out the rest of his years without worrying about anything” Sheppard explained.

John Sabatini

The generosity, love, and support humbles the veteran, who knows this friendship is a light for him during a difficult time. “We’re so close. Very tight. I can tell them if I`m feeling desperate or when I’m feeling frightened--which that still comes. It’s just really nice and important to have friends like that” John added.

If the community would like to contribute to John's GoFundMe, click here.

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