Town helps family facing tough times

Guilderland community organizations are coming together to help the Rodino family with expenses resulting from a life-threatening neurological disease that has struck the father and his youngest daughter. Seven-year-old Rachel Rodino is not expected to make it through Christmas.

The Rodinos are dealing with the dad and a child who both have Huntington's disease, a neurological disease that results in death, according to information from the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce, which has chosen the Rodinos for the adopt-a-family program.

Rick Rodino has not been able to work, and he and his wife, Lori, have been making ends meet off donations and disability income.

The Rodinos also have two daughters who attend Guilderland High School.

Lori Rodino said the first sign of Rachel's Huntington's came three years ago, when she had a seizure while at school. Two weeks later, she had another, which came as a surprise because there is not a history of seizures in the family.

Lori Rodino said the doctor was "baffled" by her daughter's condition at first, but narrowed it down to a few ailments " one of them being Huntington's. It was describe as a very aggressive degenerative disease, and after a recent hospice stint, Rodino was not optimistic.

"I didn't think we were taking her home," she said.

Rachel was able to eventually come home, and hospice workers now come to the house to help with her care.

Rick Rodino, who has the adult form of Huntington's, has had symptoms for 13 years. "He's getting worse as well," Lori said. "It's very scary for my kids. They're afraid."

She said because Rick has been unable to work, the family is hurting for money.

The community has already begun to rally, and by the end of the first week in December, a number of organizations have contributed.

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