‘Inspirational’ Calgary kindergarteners support classmate with kidney disease

With the new school year just days away, some Calgary kids are already learning some important lessons.

They’ve been spending the past few weeks on a summer project to support a kindergarten classmate.

Alysha Somji, 6, was diagnosed with kidney disease in May 2020.

Read more: World Kidney Day raises awareness for kidney health

With her kidneys functioning at only four per cent, she is on dialysis for 16 hours every day.

“Next month, in September, Alysha will undergo surgery to get a new kidney,” Alysha’s mom Robin Somji said. “It’s not a cure; it’s only a treatment. She’ll face up to three or four kidney transplants in her lifetime.”

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Eight of Alysha’s kindergarten classmates — calling themselves “Princess Warriors” — are teaming up to help her and other people suffering from kidney disease.

Read more: Calgarians join Canada-wide Kidney March to raise money to battle disease

They’ve been spending the summer walking short sections of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s annual Kidney March, aiming to eventually each walk a total of 100 kilometres.

“They’ve been inspired by (Alysha’s) incredible strength throughout the year,” parent Jacynthe Jagger said.

“She’s been showing up at school every day with a big smile on her face, ready to learn and play.”

Alysha’s family is grateful for the support.

“This group of parents and children have been incredible through the year helping us,” Somji said. “I’m thrilled by it and touched by it more than I could ever say.”

Read more: A perfect match: Husband donates kidney to wife of 51 years

Money raised during the Kidney March will help with research into kidney disease and treatment for patients.

“Aren’t these kids inspirational?” the Kidney Foundation’s Joyce Van Deurzen said. “To come up with this and to do it on behalf of one of their classmates, it’s awesome.”

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