Third-time Kidney Marcher, Brenda Brown is an Unstoppable Force
Member of Team BeCauseYuKan, Brenda Brown from Abbotsford BC, is a go-getter, mother of three, grandmother of three, organ donation advocate, transplant recipient, and returning Kidney Marcher. After two years of virtual events, September 9 – 11, 2022, will be her first time participating in-person, side by side with hundreds of others dedicated to the Kidney March cause.
Nine years ago, Brenda received a life-saving kidney through The Kidney Paired Donation program, where her then 22-year-old daughter donated her kidney to a stranger. Today Brenda and her daughter are healthy and well. Brenda now uses her time, passion, and skill to advocate for the transplant community. She has taken on the role of President of the Canadian Transplant Association and participates in many more initiatives to support organ donation awareness.
After getting a second chance at life, Brenda made the empowering decision to do three new things every year, and in 2020 Kidney March was one of those things. We are glad she decided to join up and run – or should we say, march – with it.
Kidney March is a physical challenge, but it is much more. Patients, loved ones, doctors, nurses, and researchers participate side-by-side, connecting the community and building bonds that go far beyond the event itself. Sign up today and join Brenda and her teammates on Team BeCauseYuKan for an amazing journey this September.
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:
The Donor: Don Cherry
The Gift: A 1997 Yukon SUV
The Cause: The Kidney Foundation of Canada
The Reason: To raise awareness about organ donation
When Don Cherry’s beloved 1997 Yukon SUV finally gave up, he didn’t want to just send it to the scrap yard.
“I bought it for my daughter brand new,” the Toronto-based hockey broadcaster said.
“And she drove it for a while. Then my son drove it for quite a while, then I drove it for quite a while, and then my grandson drove it for quite a while.”
By then the vehicle had more than 300,000 kilometres on it. “I thought, ‘Well, it’s got to go’ and it’s kind of sad. I’m one of those guys that fall in love with cars,” Mr. Cherry said. “I thought, ‘Now how can I have this SUV, my beauty, go out in style?’ And I thought, why not go to the kidney car program and have it go that way?” Click here to read more.