GUILDERLAND, N.Y. — For the past four and a half years, Lori Rodino has struggled to make ends meet as her family fights a debilitating terminal illness — Huntington's.
“It's a tough thing to accept and see them go through,” she said.
Rodino is the only one in her family that doesn't have the genetic neurological disorder, losing her youngest daughter, Rachel, to Huntington's a few years ago.
“They say time heals, but it makes it worse. You miss them more,” she said.
Huntington's Disease is an inherited brain disorder that results in the progressive loss of both mental faculties and physical control. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 to 50, and worsen over a 10 to 25 year period. Ultimately, the weakened individual succumbs to pneumonia, heart failure or other complications.
Her other daughter and son were recently diagnosed with the disease, and her husband Rick has been battling its slow progression and is currently in its later stage.
“I can't do a fulltime job because I have to take care of Rick,” she said.
The 24-hour caretaking has taken a toll on the Rodino family finances.
“There are times when I've had to deliver the paper in the morning, it's easier when everyone's sleeping,” she added.
“What we've tried to do, is make it so she can stay and not do a paper route and take care of kids,” said benefit organizer Kathy Burbank.
The benefit for the Rodino family was held at Five Guys and neighboring TCBY. As people bought food, a portion of their money went toward helping the family.
“We want to stand behind them when they need something help them,” said family friend Alonna Rudloph.
It's a show of support that's overwhelming at times for Rodino.
“I could not stay in my house if it wasn't for them,” she said.
Presently, there is no effective treatment or cure. Although medications can relieve some symptoms, research has yet to find a means of slowing the deadly progression of HD.
If you'd like to donate you still can. There will be a bike and car show Saturday, June 22nd at Crossgates Mall starting at 10am. The event will donate a portion of the proceeds to the family. Or you can visit the family's website and click on the “donate now” at the bottom of the page to make a donation.