Fundraiser to help ailing local boy set for Saturday
By Janine Kearney
Tribune Staff
September 7, 2006

THE KID — William Albiniano, 8, needs expensive kidney treatments and medication his family cannot afford without insurance.

— Copyright © 2006 Debra Reid/Daily Sparks Tribune

Clean up your garage and help a struggling local family at the same time.

On this Saturday, Sept. 9, there is a yard-sale fundraiser for 8-year-old terminally ill William Albiniano, whose family lives in the North Valleys.

William, a third grader at Sierra Nevada Academy in Stead, has a terminal condition called MPGN — a condition in which his white blood cells are attacking his internal organs. It is a painful condition, and he needs expensive monthly treatments and daily medications to slow the effects and dull the pain.

The Albiniano family had been receiving medical insurance aid from the Nevada Check-Up Program, but was cut off in April. The family is appealing the decision.

For the past several months, the family has been paying for William's medications, but falling behind on their house payments and utility bills.

William is supposed to go back to UC Davis Medical Center for regular follow-up and treatments in early October. In their current situation, the family will not be able to pay for that doctor's appointment.

"We're still falling behind with bills and we're appealing the denial of Nevada Check-Up for the second time," said Lisa Albiniano, William's mother. "But I'm not giving up."

When the family was dropped from the Nevada Checkup program, [1] they fell behind on house payments, medical and utility bills, she said. Concerned community members and local business owners stepped in, offering to sponsor spare change collection jars, fundraising events and charity bank accounts. Lisa said her family is very grateful for the community's financial support, which has gone towards making small payments against her current backlog of bills.

"I'm fighting for my son's life," Albiniano said. "I'm getting really distressed. Now, I'm afraid that the more I talk about it, they (Nevada Check-Up) will use that against me. I'm in a catch-22."

She said she worries that the very fundraisers that assisted the family pay some of their overdue bills will be counted with her regular working income — and disqualify the family from the medical aid program they need.

Community members have been generous, she said, but now donations have started to drop off, leaving the family with unpaid bills and less chance of receiving the medical aid from Nevada Check-Up. The program was designed to help low-income families so they would not be forced to choose between paying for prescriptions and basic needs.

Albiniano said she is frustrated because her family faces this exact dire situation, yet has faced tremendous difficulty and paperwork in trying to apply for the program.

"We just want to save our son," Albiniano said.

"Your job as a parent is to protect your children. That‚s what I'm trying to do. And I can't even do that."

Even though medical journals point to the fact that MPGB patients like William might not have many years to live, supportive community members like Dee Castello are fighting to raise money so that he can be more comfortable, play like the other kids and spend whatever precious time he has left with his family.

"Dee is a wonderful person and I want to thank her, along with all of the local businesses that are trying to help," Albiniano said.

A yard sale fundraiser has been scheduled on Sept. 9 at Dee's Used Furniture in Sun Valley. Anyone wishing to contribute items may call (775) 771-4951 or (775) 303-0606.

1. Nevada Checkup's recent publicity touting its success and availability: "Nevada parents whose children are uninsured shouldn't have to agonize over choosing between taking their child to the doctor or putting food on the table."

Full story: UNINSURED KIDS: Public health care coverage available
Low-income families eligible for Medicaid, state plan

Las Vegas Review-Journal 8-10-2006

UPDATE: You may view Joe Hart's August 16 story on William by going to and clicking on Special Features at the left hand side of the page. Once there, look for the headline entitled "HART OF THE MATTER: Reno Family of Child with Life Threatening Disease Isn't Getting Financial Help...Their son is battling a life threatening illness. They can barely afford his monthly medication and they've now fallen behind on their house payments. To top it all off, they've been rejected by a state program designed to help people in their situation. News 4's Joe Hart focuses on a family that refuses to give up...."

The director of Nevada Checkup refused to be interviewed for Mr. Hart's story. I spoke with him after Lisa Albiniano gave him written permission to do so, as she did for Mr. Hart. Charles Duarte said his office is awaiting (what else?) more paperwork.

Keep in mind that older web browsers will probably not work to get you to the video from the home page. You must also have Microsoft Windows Media Player in your system. It's available for both Windows and MAC and probably other systems at the BillGatesLand website, — leastways I hope so.

UPDATE 9-10-2006: Mr. Hart will do a followup on Wednesday, Sept. 13, probably on the station's 6:00 p.m. newscast. From what he has gleaned from Nevada Checkup so far, it appears that Mrs. Albiniano's worst fears noted above are being realized.


William Albiniano: Latest Updates, News Archive + How and where to donate

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