Israeli media is awash with the touching tale of
how the son of a Nigerian billionaire braved all odds against him to
donate his kidney to a dying lady he had never met.
The Jerusalem Post in an article titled, ‘The Human Spirit: Love, Give, Live’, reported
that the story of Smith Jadesimi, son of oil magnate Ladi Jadesimi,
resonated in hearts across the country as an untainted demonstration of
compassion beyond religion and race.
Born in 1987 into the large and prosperous Jadesimi family, Smith learned the value of supporting charitable causes from a young age under the tutelage of his strict Anglican parents.
“Our parents read the Bible with us every morning,” Smith told Barbara Sofer of The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s foremost English newspaper. “They
stressed the value of love. You can believe in something, obey the
commandments, keep the Sabbath holy, but love is the greatest
The graduate from the University of Pretoria in South Africa regularly
gave generously to humanitarian missions, not only in Nigeria but also
in countries such as the Philippines, Haiti and Syria, setting aside 70%
of his income for charity.
His unusual journey to
be a kidney donor in Israel began when he ‘googled’ the words ‘people
who need help’ and discovered the website of ‘Matnat Chaim’which literally means ‘the gift of life’. Reading about the NGO’s unique kidney donation program in Israel, a chord within Smith’s heart was struck.
“I figured that God isn’t a fool to give us two kidneys if we only need one, so we’re supposed to give one away to the needy,” he said.
Smith’s initial email to the Israeli organisation was met with scepticism, Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber admitting he felt it was nothing more than a ploy from the Nigerian to
gain entrance into Israel. However, his unyielding persistence
eventually swayed their views and they invited Smith for a meeting.
The Israeli embassy in Abuja, however, shared similar cynical sentiments and refused his visa for nearly a year, only finally giving the go-ahead after several high-profile meetings.
After undergoing some gruelling medical
examinations in Israel, for which he gave up his tickets at the FIFA
World Cup in Brazil to attend, Smith was told to await confirmation.
Although he received no news for nearly six more months, his faith
Two long years after beginning his quest to give
away a kidney to an Israeli, Jadesimi was finally accepted. His only
stipulation about the recipient was that he or she be a young person
around his age.
Smith explained that his Christian faith was an
instrumental factor in his decision. As a member of The Synagogue,
Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria, he stated that Prophet
T.B. Joshua, well known for his extensive charitable missions, was also
“Love isn’t just in your heart; you have to do something to show you love others,“Smith explained, adding this was a practical lesson he learned during his time at The SCOAN.
“And not just someone you know, not for selfish reasons –
someone beyond your circle. If you have $10 billion and a kidney
problem, all of your money can’t solve the problem – only a donor can.”
Omaima Halabi, a 21 year old law student from the
Druse town of Daliat al-Carmel was the lucky lady. She had been
suffering from kidney failure for over 18 months and depended on
dialysis for survival.
The surgery was arranged for December 18 2014 at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. “I wasn’t afraid; it was a mission with God on my side. I had peace of heart,” Smith recalled before entering the theatre.
The operation was a resounding success, Halabi
given a new lease of life through the generosity of a young man from a
different continent, culture and colour.
“I’m so grateful – to my donor Smith Jadesimi, to my family and to Rabbi Heber,”said Omaima Halabi at the feast held in celebration of her recovery. “This was certainly arranged in Heaven.”
Smith’s father Ladi Jadesimi is the Executive
Chairman of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) and listed among
the ‘10 Nigerian billionaires you’ve probably never heard of.’ His
sister, Dr. Amy Jadesimi is the managing director of LADOL and was
listed by Forbes as one of Africa’s ’20 Young Power Women’.