Joel Prince, Donor Mentor

Joel is a 46-year-old Kidney Donor. He is a father of 3, lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife and children. Joel donated the Gift of Life by giving his father a Kidney, and since then, has been an advocate for living donation.

Joel’s Transplant Story

I live in Colorado, My Dad lives in Chicago. My sister and I are both adopted and we are both very close with our parents (who have been married over 50 years!). When my Father found out he was surviving on less than 10% kidney function, his choice was either Dialysis or Transplant.

My Sister was not a match for my Dad. I immediately wanted to be tested, but both my Mom and Dad said no due to my wife and I having three children, as well as my wife only having one kidney herself (she lost one of hers when she was a teen in a boating accident). My wife and I spoke about it and easily agreed that I needed to do anything I could for my Dad. It took some coaxing, but my parents agreed to let me be tested. I was a match! My blood type, organ tissue, and kidney function were all great.

I flew to Chicago within weeks of all the test results coming back, and was in and out of the hospital in one day. My Dad came home after two nights. The hardest thing for me was having to put my prosthesis on, as it takes lots of core strength, which you are not supposed to use any core muscles for a few weeks after surgery. The surgery was flawless; my incisions healed extremely quickly and I had no problem with the entire process. I had to wait a week to have my surgeon clear me to fly back to Colorado, or I would have flown back sooner! I literally was back working within 10 days of donating my Kidney. My parents love to travel, and with the transplant being a huge success, my parents have not missed a beat! Best decision I ever made, hands down!

What do you do for a living?

I am an Autistic Specialist.

What do you do for fun?

I love the outdoors, spending quality time with my family and friends, and helping people is my passion. I love teaching my children, being the best role model I can be, and experiencing new places with my family.

What are your hobbies?

The Great Outdoors! Fishing, camping, hiking, and anything in the mountains.

What do you to stay active?

I have three boys, what do I do to relax would be a better question!

What are your passions?

I love helping people. I work with extreme developmental disabilities and love being able to help the ones that most people can’t. Family and teaching good morals is another passion of mine.

Why did you choose to be a mentor?

I am a Kidney Donor. I am adopted and was able to donate my Kidney to my Father whom adopted me. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to help my Father in a way nobody else could. Total no brainer here! I am so grateful I was able to give back to my hero, my Dad!

What is your involvement with ATF? How long have you been involved?

I just started with the ATF but am eager to talk to, mentor, and help out anybody I can!

What about being a mentor appealed to you?

Being a Donor was the most amazing experience I have ever encountered! I would love to help others through this journey as it is an experience of a lifetime!

Are you a donor mentor or transplant recipient mentor?

I am volunteering as a donor mentor.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

I am an amputee, lost my leg in two different motorcycle accidents. Once below the knee in Chicago on a Harley back in 1989. The second was same leg above the knee on a Harley back in 2004 out here in Colorado. I am also a recovering alcoholic; I’ve been clean and sober 23+ years.

What does Joel think about being a donor?

This is the best thing you will ever do! The rewards you receive from this amazing selfless act will just keep multiplying! This truly is a gift of life!

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite Sports Team? Die Hard Chicago fan. I love the Bears, especially love the Blackhawks, and yes, due to me living in Colorado before the Avs came here, I allow myself to like the Avs too! They are my second favorite team!
  • Favorite Food? Steak and Sushi, Italian works too!
  • Favorite or Dream vacation? My family, my parents, and my Sister’s family are all going to Alaska for a cruise next month! I can’t wait!
  • Favorite Movie? Braveheart.
  • Favorite Band? Metallica, haha. Though that was long ago, I still like to hear them now and again!