Flight Log

Resources and Stories from Angel Flight West.

When Cancer Care is States Away: Meet Frank


Denise and Frank were college sweethearts. They met while attending school in Costa Mesa, Calif., enjoying their lives as young musicians. Today, celebrating 45 years of marriage, the couple lives in Meridian, Idaho, only a few houses away from their adored children and grandchildren. And just as talented in the world of musical theatre as he was decades ago, Frank knew something was off when he felt his lips weakening while playing his trumpet during a local production of Beauty and the Beast. 

Shortly after, a scan performed in Dallas, TX confirmed Frank had a brain tumor and would need to find a neurosurgeon to begin navigating this unexpected healthcare journey, leading the husband-and-wife duo to the life-saving medical team at Hoag Hospital in Orange County.  

After caring for Denise for years throughout her own medical challenges, Frank was now the patient, undergoing brain surgery nearly 900 miles away from the comfort of his home. Denise, an experienced nurse practitioner herself, only wanted the best care for Frank, something that their medical team at Hoag Hospital has continuously given. “The treatment they’ve provided has been the only thing that has really helped with keeping his tumor at bay,” says Denise. “I have their personal phone numbers. They really care.”   

The couple started flying with Angel Flight West after hearing about the organization from some aviation friends. Their first angel flight was in March of this year, and the experience has proven to be an adventure while helping to offset some of their costly medical bills. “AFW provides a bridge so Frank can have quality of care, which in turn, is quality of life,” says Denise. “The pilots are wonderful, and I love see Frank’s smile when we take off.’   

As for Frank, he feels very blessed to have been connected with AFW to reach his essential treatments. And even though he was told he wouldn’t play his trumpet again after brain surgery, he’s hardly missed a note, even playing the opening number from popular musical Annie after his procedure. After all, with the support of a loving family, expert medical team, and generous volunteer pilots, the sun will come out tomorrow — and for many days to come.  
Thank you, Idaho Community Foundation! With support from their Forever Idaho Southwest grant fund, we were able to arrange flights to ensure Frank can receive his specialized cancer  treatment at Hoag Hospital. We’re helping more people get the health care they need, thanks to generous partners like Idaho Community Foundation.


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