Last year I committed to walking in the Alberta Kidney March on September 5-7. I walked to honour and support my sister, Erica. Erica has kidney disease. She has refused, since being diagnosed in 2011, to allow the disease to define her. Kidney disease is something has has, it is not who she is.
Who is Erica?
Erica is kind, compassionate, beautiful, and full of life.
Erica is smart, having completed her Bachelor of Communication, specializing in Information Design. She started the degree before getting sick, and walked across the stage after battling this disease for over two years.
Erica is a single mom. She has raised her daughter by herself for all 10 years of my niece’s life. During this time she ended a career writing safety manuals for the oil and gas industry, went back to university, and graduated. Her daughter is a sensitive, smart, kind and funny girl that is my sister’s entire world.
Erica is determined. Two years after starting university, a huge task for a single mom with no alternate financial support system, Erica got her diagnosis. Erica kept going. When her nephrologist recommended chemo in the hopes it was stablize her condition, she kept going. She lowered her course load, but continued. Her four year degree was achieved in five.
Erica is funny. Through losing her hair from the chemo, to talking about the challenges of raising a child by herself, Erica has kept her sense of humour.
Erica is my hero for all these reasons and more.
This year I will be walking the Kidney March September 11-13. To raise awareness of Kidney Disease, for my sister, for her daughter and for the thousands of Canadians living every day with this incurable disease.