WESTBROOK – Soni-Kay Wilson was a typical 5-year-old girl, who loved to play dress-up and pretend to be a princess.

“She was crazy . . . she was fun,” said her mother, Shanna-Kay Wright, of Westbrook. “When she smiled, her little eyes lit up. They twinkled when she laughed. She was a happy kid. She left a lot of people sad, totally sad.”

Soni was supposed to start kindergarten at Saccarappa School in Westbrook next week. She died Wednesday after suffering a massive stroke.

Soni’s family struggled Friday to absorb the death of the young girl, who they called happy, spunky and fun-loving.

Wright said some of her daughter’s favorite things were singing and dancing and playing dress-up with her friends. The girls would try on dresses and tutus and put on makeup and lip gloss.

“They would completely trash her room,” her mother said. “Soni had her own little personality. I told her (she could) be a famous fashion designer. She liked wearing tutu skirts. With leggings, she’d wear a sock on her left foot and a glove on her right hand.”

Soni had her outfit already picked out for her first day at school Tuesday. Last year, she attended the preschool program there.

Soni, whose nickname was “Sunny,” was the daughter of Michael Wilson, who lives in Jamaica. The family was working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica to obtain the documentation Wilson needs to travel to Maine to attend his daughter’s memorial service and funeral today.

Family members talked about their struggle to raise enough money for Soni’s headstone and his plane ticket to Maine. Wright and some of her friends posted messages on Facebook asking for help.

Soni’s aunts, Davianne and Elisabeth Redwood, described her as a funny and compassionate kid, who brought joy to many people. Davianne Redwood, of Standish, recalled a day she was lying on her sister’s couch and Soni sang her a song to make her feel better.

“She was my princess,” Redwood said. “Whenever I was over there, no one else mattered. It was me and her.”

Soni also had a close relationship with her memere, Sonia Morris, of Standish. She talked about the many nights that Soni came to sleep at her house. Morris said her granddaughter was in her wedding Saturday.

“I just can’t believe she is gone,” Morris said. “She was my baby. I’d give my life for her. She was just 5. I’m angry that she’s gone. The only comfort I have right now is that I’m sleeping with her shirt and a framed picture on the pillow next to me. I cover it up at night.”

Soni had sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder that mostly affects people of African ancestry. She had struggled with the disease throughout her life.

On the day of her stroke, she and her mother went to iHop for breakfast and then shopping at the mall. Later that afternoon, she rode her bike with a neighbor.

Early Monday night, Soni had a stroke and her mother called 911. She continued to have seizures during the night, which left her on life support.

“I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to think,” her mother said. “It seems so surreal. . . . It hasn’t completely hit me yet.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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