REALTOR® Joel Pratt, a broker with J.L. Pratt, REALTORS® in Canton, Mass., is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of REALTORS® for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2013 Good Neighbor Awards. Pratt was selected for his dynamic role in raising more than $1 million for MatchingDonors.com, a nonprofit online service that saves lives by matching living donors with patients who need a transplant.
“This year’s Good Neighbor Award winners are not only a tremendous inspiration to others for their dedication and passion, but also they remind us of REALTORS®’ commitment to building communities and helping those who need it most,” said NAR President Gary Thomas
, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. “Joel has displayed tremendous self-sacrifice to improve the lives of donor recipients across the country. I am proud and honored to recognize him and look forward to watching him grow his work.”
Every life Joel Pratt helps to save keeps the memory of his beloved wife, Lynda, alive. After nearly 25 years together, she died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer. Pratt wasn’t able to save her, but since then it’s been his mission to save whomever he can. “Not being able to cure her took half my soul out of my body,” he said. “We tried everything to save her.”
Not being able to bear to see anyone suffer the way his wife did, Pratt decided to help people who needed saving. For nine years, he has dedicated himself to raising money for MatchingDonors.com. “There are always more patients waiting for deceased donors than there are available organs, but living donors can literally save lives by adding to the supply now,” said Pratt.
The national median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3.3 years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But for some patients, that wait time can exceed five years, depending on factors such as blood type, age and geographic location. However, because MatchingDonors.com matches patients with living donors, the wait time can be much shorter. Through the site, the average patient has found a donor and received a transplant in six months.
Pratt’s work helps people find organ donors faster, resulting in a better quality of life and even saving the lives of people who wouldn’t have found an organ in time. One of the people Pratt helped save is Stephen Meservey. Meservey went into kidney failure because of diabetes and was on dialysis when a friend of his received Pratt’s card in 2012. “I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without getting wiped out.” said Meservey.
Before finding MatchingDonors.com, Meservey had been told it would be three to four years before he would receive a kidney transplant. MatchingDonors.com found him a living donor within a year. Since then, life for Meservey has largely returned to normal. He has energy for his four children, he has returned to work, and is able to do much-needed renovations on his home.
Since 2004, Pratt has used his real estate sales skills to raise more than $1 million for the organization by soliciting property donations and finding buyers. He finds people to donate homes and other property, then he and others resell them and give the proceeds, including commissions, to MatchingDonors.com. In addition to the houses, Pratt has sold donated cars, boats, and entire stocks of inventory from stores going out of business. He finds donations and buyers through old-fashioned marketing such as knocking on doors and passing out flyers.
The organization has saved 500 lives since its inception, and Paul Dooley, CEO of MatchingDonors.com, attributes Pratt’s efforts to hundreds of those success stories. “He doesn’t let you give up,” said Dooley. “He’s the kind of person who, if you run out of energy, he says here, take my energy.”
Pratt and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and will be profiled in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine
. The recipients will receive their awards on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco.
Celebrating its 14th year, the Good Neighbor Awards has been awarded annually since 2000 and is presented by NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine. REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Awards winners is available at www.REALTOR.org/gna
Liberty Mutual Insurance (http://welcome.libertymutual.com/nar/
) is one of the world’s leading and most trusted insurance carriers. For more than 100 years, their mission has been to provide comprehensive, quality insurance products that help their customers live safer, more secure lives. Liberty Mutual has worked hard to develop personal insurance programs that provide long-term benefits to their customers, and constantly strives to improve their products and services. Equally important, is their legacy of working for the public good through philanthropy, safety research, and educational outreach. For that reason, Liberty Mutual is proud to be the 2013 and 2014 primary sponsor of REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards, expanding their partnership with NAR. For more than a decade, as part of the REALTOR Benefits® Program, Liberty Mutual has been NAR’s exclusive partner for auto, home and renters insurance. Through this program NAR members are eligible to receive special savings and insurance benefits.
National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org
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