Calgary resident Robin Somji had heard of Kidney March before, but something piqued her interest this year and she didn’t know why. “In March I remember hearing the ad on the radio, and I said to myself I should do that. And then I thought, why would I do that? I heard the ad several times, including into the COVID shutdown when I wondered why they keep advertising this when no one can take part?” Little did she know that two months later the unthinkable would happen. Robin’s young daughter Alysha was not feeling well, the family learned her kidney function was only 4% and failing fast. Alysha at only five years old was swiftly put on dialysis, and the family was thrust into life with kidney disease. “Funny how the universe was hinting at me and preparing me,” remarks Robin. “We spent a month in the hospital and now do dialysis at home for 16 hrs every day and will do so until she is ready for a transplant. I am hoping I can be her donor.”
A person can lose up to 80% kidney function without any symptoms, it can affect any age group, and there is no cure. 78% of Canadians waiting for an organ transplant are waiting for a kidney.
In this year’s Kidney March participants will complete their march in their own communities. The Somji family will be walking in Springbank starting August 10th. Their team, along with the other participants, will connect virtually for the final three days of Kidney March, September 11 – 13, to walk 10 kilometres per day and complete their 100-kilometre goal. Cheer for their family if you see them walking around Springbank in this bold journey for Alysha.
The Somji’s goal is not only to raise awareness about kidney disease but to also raise funds towards research to improve the future of kidney health and transplant outcomes. Alysha will likely need more than one transplant in her lifetime, but by supporting research the family is hopeful Alysha will only need just one from her mom.
Learn more about their story from Global News Calgary at GlobalNews/Parents of young Springbank girl march to bring awareness of ‘silent disease’