In 2011, Joseph nearly lost his upper arm to a progressive giant cell tumor. Prior to the tumor, he enjoyed an active life full of travel, fishing and adventurous activities. The prospect of losing his energetic lifestyle was terrifying.
Initially, the tumor was removed without risk to Joseph’s arm. However, just six months later, the tumor was back. Although it was non-cancerous, it was aggressive. As an alternative to amputation, doctors recommended replacing a large portion of Joseph’s upper arm with donated bone. The transplant allowed Joseph’s doctors to save his arm and ultimately restore his quality of life.
Today, Joseph’s arm is fully functioning and he is able to continue his work as a handyman. He has also returned to his adventurous lifestyle, even continuing his love of skydiving.
“I really want to pay it forward,” said Joseph. “I want to pass this tremendous gift on to others.”
He is now an avid advocate for the cause of donation in Colorado, even representing Allosource, a local tissue processor, aboard the Donate Life Float in the 2013 Rose Parade. Joseph is also an active volunteer for Donor Alliance, the Limb Preservation Foundation and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Joseph hopes to one day connect with his donor family and personally recognize their loved one as his hero.