DETROIT (WXYZ) - Lions running back Joique Bell is known for supporting the city of Detroit. But today, the city of Detroit is supporting Bell and his family.
On Sunday, Bell posted a photo to Instagram showing that his older sister, Ambie Bell-Clayton, received a kidney transplant after a seven-year wait.
"After 7 Long Years We Made It. Kidney Transplant Was A Success N My Big Sister Is HERE!!" Bell said in the Instagram post, which has reached 1,300-plus likes.
Bell flew from California, where he had been training, in order to be by his sister's side following the operation.
Bell-Clayton was diagnosed with renal disease in 2006 during Bell's freshman year at Wayne State, after going to the hospital for what she thought was only the flu.
Bell said he remembers how he felt when he received the call about his sister's heath.
"It was like a nightmare when I first received that phone call about what had happened to her back in 2006 when I was in college," he said.
However, he can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing his sister is on the road to recovery.
"This is something I've always worried about and just this one step closer to being on dialysis and just to have a couple months treatments until everything kicks in, but definitely a sign of relief," Bell said. "I can finally sleep easier at night."
"She's come a long way and I'm very proud of her and everything that she's accomplished and and the hurdles that she overcame," he said. "It's remarkable."
Bell said one quality he admires most about his sister is her appreciation for everyday life.
"It just shows you how much you should appreciate everything that you have, regardless of what it is, if it's walking, going to the bathroom, waking up in the morning," he said. "Just being appreciative of everything, you know, she put that in perspective.
Bell-Clayton's appreciation of the simple things was evident in the first things she wanted to do following the operation: eat and sit on the porch.
Bell, a Benton Harbor native, has been active in raising awareness and money for kidney disease in Michigan, which affects nearly 1 million people statewide.
He has participated in the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan's annual Kidney Walk the past two springs and donates part of the money raised from his camps to help fight the disease.
Right now, though, it's time for Bell to take a breath and take in the support his family is receiving for his sister's fight and continued recovery.
"The city of Detroit shows so much love, and they tell me that they can see the love I have for the city when I play the game," he said. "And I can see that love for me when I go through a personal situation with my family."
Bell-Clayton, who was surprised by the magnitude of the outreach, said she is grateful for the support as well.
"It makes me feel loved," she said, "Even if it's love through him, he's still an extension of me."