Family asks for help as home and shop face foreclosure

NEW SCOTLAND — A local business owner may lose his auto repair shop and his home after losing his wife to colon cancer. His daughter started a page to stave off the two foreclosures.

Brian Lainhart worked odd hours, often into the night, to keep his family going while caring for his wife, Miriam Fiato, for three years of expensive and exhausting cancer treatments, according to his 29-year-old daughter, Lacey Goodrich.

Ms. Fiato died of colon cancer on Friday, Nov. 13. She was 53.

Mr. Lainhart, who grew up in Guilderland and moved to Voorheesville 20 years ago, owns Awesome Automotive, at 2064 New Scotland Rd., kitty corner from Town Hall and next to Tastee Treat Ice Cream.

“For the last three years, she fought colon cancer, and had chemo,” Ms. Goodrich said of her mother. “Dad took a lot of time off work.”

The family had no health insurance, she said.

“He owns his own business,” Ms. Goodrich said, explaining that the costs for medical insurance and medical bills were high.

Awesome Automotive has been open for 20 years, she said.

“It’s really his life. He loved to fix things,” she said. “He loves to help people. He always comes to my rescue. He needs rescuing now.”

Her site has raised about $1,300, for which she is grateful, but she was hoping to raise a minimum of $35,000, which may help, if not solve, the problem of foreclosure, she said.

On her page, she wrote, “During the last years of [my mom’s] struggle, my father took a lot of time taking care of her, through multiple surgeries, rounds of chemo, etc. He would leave work to take care of her and go back and work on cars in the middle of the night in an attempt to catch up. Between her medical bills, taxes, and missed work time he has been faced with foreclosure notices.”


Mr. Lainhart was born in Altamont and graduated from Guilderland High School; Lainhart Road in Altamont is named after his family. Ms. Fiato was born in Voorheesville, where she attended school.

They married on Dec. 23, 1992 — this is their anniversary week, Ms. Goodrich said. 

“He says, ‘This is the worst time!’ Their love was so strong,” she said of her parents. “They were like still on their honeymoon.”

“My mom was always big on Christmas,” Ms. Goodrich said. “He would take time off and spend the holiday with the family. We had a big family party Christmas Eve. My mom loved Christmas. Now, he’s just working all night. He says, ‘I have cars to fix.’ He works by himself.”

Ms. Goodrich’s sister, Rachel Lainhart, 25, moved home last year to help the family.

“She’s a saving grace. At least, he’s not alone,” Ms. Goodrich said of her sister.

“I’m definitely mourning the loss of my mother,” she said. “She was in so much pain — she wasn’t getting better. She was 60 pounds. She wasn’t coherent.”

Miriam Fiato

Ms. Fiato started a cleaning business a few years ago, and Ms. Goodrich, a journalism student, helped her. Before that, Ms. Fiato was a stay-at-home mother, Ms. Goodrich said.

“She loved dogs,” she said. “She put us through dog-obedience school and 4-H. She made therapy dogs with my sister. We also bred Labrador retrievers.”

Ms. Fiato passed on her love of dogs to Ms. Goodrich, her daughter said.

The family splurged once on a trip to the Bahamas, where the girls swam with dolphins.

When Ms. Fiato was very ill, she would not want to talk, but Ms. Goodrich would remind her mother of their trip.

“She said, ‘Oh yeah, that was amazing,’ ” Ms. Goodrich said.

“She spent her time taking care of everybody else. We’re all a little lost without her direction. She made things happen.”

Ms. Fiato had appendicitis, at which point doctors discovered that she had stage-four colon cancer, Ms. Goodrich said.

“I was pregnant when she got sick,” she said. Her son, Avery Kurtz, now 2, was born blind. Ms. Goodrich has been tending to son’s medical needs, her mother’s cleaning business, and her mother’s illness, she said.

“My mom loved my son,” she said.

At Avery’s birth, Ms. Fiato waited until he was born to enter the labor room, Ms. Goodrich said.

“My dad was, basically, carrying her out of there. She had just had chemo. She was really sick,” Ms. Goodrich said of her mother. “She was definitely excited about it. She wanted me to have more babies. She loved babies!”

Funds for the future

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to him,” Ms. Goodrich said of her father. “A lot of people didn’t know she was sick. She was very private.”

Her father did not tell his customers about his wife’s illness and death, Ms. Goodrich said.

“Nobody knew that she died. Nobody knew she was sick,” she said.

Ms. Goodrich previously created a gofundme page for her dog, a pug, that had cancer.

“More people online are pug people,” she said. “Random strangers with pugs donated for my dog.”

She searched for a cancer survivor group on social media to make an appeal, but could not find one.

Local neighbors and business owners have come forward with support, Ms. Goodrich said, but donations have slowed.

“He is still working,” she said of her father. “The shop is still open.”


Miriam Fiato is survived her husband, Brian Lainhart; her daughters, Lacey Goodrich and Rachel Lainhart, of Voorheesville; her father, Salvatore Fiato; her sister, Mona George and her husband, Kevin, of Voorheesville; her brother Mick Fiato, and his wife, Gayle, of Boston; and her grandson, Avery Kurtz.

Ms. Fiato is also survived by her nieces and nephews, Sasha Durand and her husband, Paul; Amy, Kristin, and Heather Fiato; and Jared, Peter, Hayley, and Gavin George.
Her mother, Kale Fiato, died before her, as did her brother, Mark Fiato.

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