NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On February 16, Tangila Jordan gave her brother Willie Napier the ultimate gift, her kidney. The surgery took place at 7:30 a.m. at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.
Napier was 15 years old when he was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes which has led to the recent failure of his kidney and pancreas.
It was approximately a year ago that Napier was informed that he needed a kidney transplant and it was then that the siblings discovered they were a match.
Both Jordan and Napier grew up in New Brunswick and attended New Brunswick High School. Napier was an active student, participating in basketball, baseball, and the chess club.
Jordan moved to Dallas, Texas in 1993 where she currently resides and is pursuing her teaching career. Even though they are 10 years apart in age and miles apart, their family bond remains strong. When Jordan discovered that her little brother needed her help, she came to his rescue.
“This was a no-brainer for me because he is my brother, I love him and I want him to have life. I want him to be able to experience a good life and to not have to worry about dialysis” Jordan said.
After discovering that they were an exact match, Jordan explained how they began the “long and rigorous” testing process. Along the way there were complications because Jordan has low blood and low iron, however thanks to the "great team of doctors at Robert Wood Johnson," said Jordan, they overcame these obstacles.
Expressing her gratitude, Jordan said “they really make sure the donor is very healthy and can survive on that one kidney after transplant.”
As for her younger brother, Napier will recover at Robert Wood Johnson for four days post-surgery. After this recovery period he will be able to return home to his loved ones.
Jordan wants to encourage others to donate organs, and said, "if you know someone who needs an organ, don't be afraid to get tested because live donation is so much better." She hopes this story will inspire others to become organ donors, "even after this life… because there are people out there that really need organs to live."
For others with similar health conditions, Napier advises, “if you’re a diabetic, take care of yourself.”