We're on the Blackfoot
Andrea Galbraith’s family is waiting for the worst again, for her six-year-old daughter Sophia’s kidneys to shut down. “She’s a got a sore throat and I’m just waiting for a sign she’ll start to relapse,” the Calgary mom said Wednesday.
For Sophia, who suffers from a rare, chronic form of nephrotic syndrome, all it takes is a common cold or flu to trigger an attack on her beleaguered kidneys. It’s a condition that prevents the kidneys from filtering toxins, poisoning the body from the inside.
Sophia’s been hospitalized more than 40 times and has had more blood work done in her short time than most experience in a lifetime, said her mom. “She’s asks ‘mommy, am I going to have to get an IV,’ and most kids don’t even know what an IV is,” she said.
After being diagnosed at age two with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), her future is one of dialysis and kidney transplants, said her mom. In a bid to head off that fate, Galbraith has raised about $150,000 in the past four years to fund research into the condition that’s dramatically changed life for her daughter and other family members.
Last year, a planned run-walk event was cancelled when June’s disastrous floods hit. On March 8, the fundraiser will move indoors to the Silver Springs Golf and Country Club, 1600 Varsity Estates Dr. N.W., where donors will be treated to a cocktail reception, food, DJ, raffles, silent auction, photo booth, dancing and other activities.
For the event’s first year, Galbraith said she hopes 150-200 people take up the challenge. All the money raised will be used for research in Canada, said Galbraith, and will be matched by the Canadian Kidney Foundation. The impact the disease has had on Sophia and her family left Galbraith little choice but to battle the condition however she could, said the mom. “I missed her 12-year-old sister Emma’s ninth birthday because Sophia was in hospital,” said Galbraith. “We can’t travel, Sophia’s missed 90 days of school … it’s a real life-changer, just a terrible disease.”
Medication she’s forced to take, said Galbraith, has “nasty” side-effects. The family, she adds, makes the best of it, with her daughters “taking this as the new normal, but it’s tough.”