Sympathy Pains


Hosted by Laura Beil (Dr. Death, Bad Batch), Sympathy Pains is a six-part series from Neon Hum Media and iHeartRadio. For 20 years, Sarah Delashmit told people around her that she had cancer, muscular dystrophy, and other illnesses. She used a wheelchair and posted selfies from a hospital bed. She told friends and coworkers she was trapped in abusive relationships, or that she was the mother of children who had died. It was all a con. Sympathy was both her great need and her powerful weapon. But unlike most scams, she didn’t want people’s money. She was after something far more valuable. 

Recent Episodes
Episodes loading...
Recent Reviews
  • DMovement
    Very moving and powerful storytelling.
  • Sam9969
    More please!
    Would love to listen to more seasons of this following other individuals. Very well done and tied everything together at the end!
  • Joshua1:5
    This was a great podcast. Please do another series like this!
  • AnnieandVinnny
    Best podcaster!
    This podcaster is so thorough and thoughtful. By far, Laura Beil’s podcasts always inform and intrigue:
  • avalonlonnie
  • matthew zimmer 33
    Laura is one of the best!
  • lati91
    Binged in one day
    Oh man, this was a good one. I found myself rolling my eyes whenever Sarah was mentioned😂😂 good job though! Interesting podcast!!
  • Chi2kcldy
    Interesting Story
    I enjoyed the story. Loved there’s no “small talk” throughout the episodes. My issue is the ads. There are ads before and during the podcasts. Much too much
  • Gummy Neece
    Great story
    This podcast was great, it kept me in suspense. Laura does a awesome job speaking, she makes you feel like your watching it on tv.Hope you do more .
  • IpadUserJG
    Opened with a furniture ad
    The show opened with an advertisement and was summarily closed. Are you joking? The level of entitlement, you’re competing with thousands of shows to hook a listener and you open with an obnoxious ad. Enjoy the one star.
  • Susankt66
    Excellent podcast
    Laura does a great job researching and reporting deviant personalities. The episodes are not too long, her voice is easy to listen to and she keeps it interesting. This show comes highly recommended, as do her other podcasts. You won’t be disappointed!
  • LoveUU!
    One of the best podcasts I’ve listened to in a very long time
    This podcast is completely captivating and I couldn’t wait to hear every episode. Highly recommended… also sad but really really good.
  • stupid???
    Loved it!
    Very well done podcast!
  • krisski617
    One of the best podcasts made WELL DONE
  • Alyssa_15243
    Not that compelling or interesting.
    This podcast seemed promising but ultimately I feel like I wasted my time. I felt for the people that she took advantage of, but I think the use of the word “victim” was a little over played. I still don’t really understand why Liz (I think that’s the right name, the wife in the couple) was featured so heavily nor do I understand her obsession with finding “justice” once she realized that Sarah was obviously a person with a severe mental illness. The show did spend some time talking about Sarah’s likely mental illness as well, but then often went back to the framing of “how could someone do this?” when analyzing Sarah’s behavior, as though we didn’t already have a clear answer. Overall I just didn’t find the story presented here to be that compelling. I often feel this way when a story is told from the perspective of the people being interviewed that just takes their view of the events completely at face value and without any further analysis or commentary. Of course it’s unfortunate that people were lied to and emotionally manipulated, but at the same time I think the victim complex of a lot of the people that were interviewed was a bit over the top.
  • CordeliaReagan
    Excellent reporting, worst ads possibly ever
    Terrible ad placements - almost completely ruins what is otherwise an excellent piece of reporting
  • mouse_witch
    Gross & Exploitative
    Sarah hurt and fooled some incredibly gullible people, and that’s not ok, but framing a story of an incredibly unwell person sent to jail for stealing a bike as “justice” is a joke. I’m sure Sarah won’t get the help Liz desperately wants for her now that she has a criminal record!
  • Cheryldec
    I would have rated it 5 stars….
    This story was compelling and well produced. But, OMG, the ads!!! I have never been so rudely jolted with no warning. No “and now a sponsor break”. Just an obnoxious blast of crappy, frenetic noise coming through my earbuds. Thank god for fast forward.
  • COWBOY68
    Fake illness
    I find it funny , ironic , disgusting that a podcast about a person faking an illness is sponsored by commercials about a fake illness ( COVID) and trying to get dumb parents to get their 5 year olds vaxed …. Wow !!!
  • geldster
    Well done!
    Finally a podcast with actual interviews and investigation, told without creepy music or radio announcer type voices. Interesting story because unlike 70yo murder cases, stories like this we can all identify with. Situations that any of us could potentially get into. Well told in chronological order. I would listen to another season if they do a similar story
  • Mallerinaballerina
    So good
    I loved this story! It was unbelievable and really well told.
  • Kurt C Baldwin
    Too convoluted for a podcast
    Some stories aren’t meant to be told like this. Too many moving pieces, extremely hard to follow, very little payoff in the end.
  • Krackelermakers
    So I’ve never actually listened to a podcast before I gave this a try! I saw someone post a tiktok recommending it and thought, well why not? I’m really glad I did, I really enjoyed the story. It’s just CRAZY the lengths someone would go! If you’re looking for a story that keeps your attention, this is the one to listen to!
  • Londoneye1919
    The real pain comes from the ads
    Good reporting, interesting story… waaaay too many ads.
  • saraelizabethcooper
    Reminds me of another case.
    Your team needs to explore the case of the chick that Vice wrote an article about. I won’t name anything here as it was all of the internet and someone did pass away. Reminds of me this story, the lies and deception and people this girl hurt!
  • ElizaJane17
    Interesting Listen
    Do I think several of her victims were gullible? Absolutely. But not all of them. And the gullible ones were still harmed. For her to prey on the weak and kind makes her more than ill and damaged, it makes her a criminal. People excusing her conduct need to check their morals.
  • Caitmarie05
    Fascinating Reporting
    Laura Bail is an excellent reporter and this story is fascinating. It’s so important to expose stories like this and bring them to light. Highly recommend this podcast series.
  • YRJ
    Interesting Story…
    Human behavior at it’s worst…sad, intriguing and infuriating. I’m always amazed at the audacity of far how people will go to get want they want!
  • bittyubu
    Really prison?
    For what? The people who are going after her need to get a life and the judge should be disbarred.
  • haleylin_12234455
    Too many ads
    Good content but way too many ads
  • iwanttoleaveareview
    Well produced and researched podcast, but there were too many obnoxiously placed adverts to enjoy it
  • Girlbrain101
    Disturbing and Fascinating
    What a scary story of a person preying on people’s kind natures. Excellently told, with a variety of different voices. Especial props for including a disabled voice on the show!
  • Caicee
    Binge worthy
    The story was heartbreaking. Hearing from so many people who were left heartbroken as this person went about her life with no concern of the pain she was leaving in her path. This podcast was well researched, written and read. Definitely worth five stars.
  • catradish
    Ok podcast
    This podcast was OK. Certainly, aspects of the story are interesting. But overall I felt like it could have been edited down to 3 episodes instead of 6, and a lot of the writing is pretty terrible - melodramatic and full of pretty banal statements that are intended to be “deep.” Not much analysis here. And yeah, definitely need to skip through the ads.
  • InboxDollarsSeemsLikeAScamtoMe
    Excellent Podcast
    The subject matter was heartbreaking but the podcast does an excellent job with research and narrative while letting the victims tell their stories.
  • queendomhuh
    Well Done
    Bingeworthy! I listened to all six episodes in two days. Great work by Laura Bell. I’m also glad they didn’t try to stretch the story out too long.
  • Hysterical 1
    Great podcast
    Very well done. I binged in one sitting. I wish the team that put podcast together would do more stories. I was drawn in right away. I feel bad for everyone involved. I truly hope Sarah stops scamming and her victims find some peace they seem like great folks.
  • BrandyClark
    Well done!
    Compelling story that shows the hurt one person can cause, while also showing sensitivity to the mental health status of the perpetrator. The conversation with the psychiatrist was really interesting. Well done!
  • Lynae L.
    Well done, but shheeeeesh.
    I pulled up the Dr. Phil episode after listening and it was BRUTAL. The podcast failed to accurately tell the story. Sarah is also a victim of her mental illness, demonizing her for it doesn't help anyone. Randomly, i actually have limb girdle muscular dystrophy- my disease has nothing to do with hers- I don't find it personally disrespectful that she faked MD. I was more offended that a medical based camp was so unfamiliar with MD that they didn't catch onto her- there is no subtype of MD (including adult onset SMA) that presents like a total body paralysis without obvious atrophy and/or severe breathing/swallowing/speaking issues. What exactly did they think she have? And I'm not blaming the victims, but they also need help #1 to get over this whole thing and #2 to learn how to maintain better boundaries. If you can’t kindly shut down 100 texts a day, you got your own work to do.
  • Lindzerrx
    Very well reported, as always!
    She always leaves me wanting more!
  • Oklahoma123456
    Is there a way to get in touch with someone from this podcast?
  • Poppinfresh1988
    Wonderful job Laura! Thank you for sharing these stories!
  • Mich987654
    I didn’t know about this story before listening, so i let out gasps at every twist and turn. I really liked the way the episodes are laid out, and the narration and story telling are great! This story is mind boggling 😱.
  • seunmo
    Omg !
    I just binged this podcast and all I can say is wow!! I still can’t wrap my head around it but this was well produced and super captivating. I enjoyed every minute of it!
  • Whetsell Family
    Laura Beil is the best!
    I love that Beil takes the time to deep dive into stories. This podcast is fascinating!!
  • WhydoIneedanicknameaahhhh3
    This is a well-organized, well-narrated, and absolutely riveting, unbelievable story. The interviews with victims of this con are heart wrenching. My only complaint is that this show is excessively ad-heavy. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a short-episode podcast with this many advertisements.
  • Poptart.!!
    Loved it!
  • Mario Savio
    A long commercial with a few minutes of podcasting
    So many ads.
  • CuttyK
    This was mind blowing to listen to. Fascinating, sad story and a top notch podcast. Well done.
  • Lemmonslistening
    I lived this!
    I had a friend of ten years that dabbled in every single one of these lies that Sarah pulled. This “best friend” of mine faked cancer, a head injury, getting hit by a car, multiple rapes, miscarriage and many other “tragedies”. She integrated herself into the police force by dating officers and then blackmailing them later. She volunteered at the local call center for battered women and only years later understood that she was asked to leave bc she was using the reports to fabricate her own lies online. Our friendship came to an awful end when I realized her foster children where not lying: she was. Always. This podcast is intensely validating. Thank you so much!
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork on this page are property of the podcast owner, and not endorsed by