Retired Master Sergeant Douglas Jordan, known as DJ, had served more than 20 years in the US Air Force. But his years fighting for this country could not prepare him for the fight for his life.
On September 11, 2013, DJ left his office in Washington D.C. to get in his car and head home to Alexandria, Virginia. However, five hours later his car ran out of gas on I-95 S near Richmond, Virginia – 100 miles away from his home. For two days, DJ wandered the streets of Richmond not knowing who he was or how he got there. He had developed Hepatic Encephalopathy, an altered level of consciousness as a result of liver failure.
When two paramedics found DJ, they took him to the hospital where he was evaluated and then transferred to the University of Maryland’s Transplant Center. This is where doctors informed him of his severe medical condition – not only was his liver in failure and in need of a transplant, but his kidneys were failing too due to the stress of liver damage.
Due to the severity of his condition, DJ was moved to the top of the organ transplant list and received both a liver and a kidney on September 15th. However, complications with the kidney quickly arose and the transplanted kidney had to be removed in order to save his life once again.
Health complications and more surgeries proceeded DJ continuously for the next year. That is when DJ’s brother, Chris, took matters into his own hands. Chris asked to be tested as a living kidney donor for DJ. When the test results came back, the brothers were informed that they were a close match, but not close enough.
All hope was not lost!
After being transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center, the brothers were informed of the kidney pairing opportunity where a donor could help create a chain and allow several people to receive life-saving kidney transplants from strangers. Chris would donate his kidney to a stranger who he was better matched with. In turn, the recipient’s loved-one would donate to someone else, creating a chain that ended with DJ receiving a living kidney donation from a stranger.
Both brothers say they are thankful for not only the generous gift of life from strangers who were willing to step up to the plate, but especially, for the new quality of life for DJ.