Frank, 90, from Brookdale Grants Pass Springs in Grants Pass, Oregon, has always dreamed of flying. When he was 10 years old, Frank made a pair of wings and jumped off the top of a barn. He fell about 30 feet and sprained both of his ankles but said he “didn’t feel anything” because the thrill of the fly took away any pain he would have felt. As Frank jumped off the top of the barn, it dawned on him that he had a fire inside of him that would not die. Ever since then, Frank has felt a need to be in the air.
Frank was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. During this time, Frank shared with his orthopedic doctor, Bruce, that he would like to go skydiving. His doctor said that if Frank was ever able to skydive, he would go with him. He’s performed nine surgeries on Frank and has successfully brought him back to health each time. The two joked around that if Frank fell apart while skydiving, Bruce would put Frank back together again like he has in the past. The two have known each other for 14 years now and have become more like friends than doctor and patient.
Frank continues to volunteer at church and spend time with his wife and family—Frank has sixteen great grandchildren! He worked with a mission throughout his life as a contractor and still gives back every day by sharing the word of God. Additionally, he still participates in his favorite hobbies such as fishing and hunting. Frank claims that Brookdale hosts a camping trip that he looks forward to each year. “It is the closest to my good ole days as I can get,” says Frank.
This past October, Frank visited a pumpkin patch, which had a zip line that visitors were encouraged to go down on. Though the zip line had 13 stairs, Frank climbed his way up to the top. He was hooked up to the equipment and zipped down to the ground. Though Frank believed this activity would be the closest he could get to jumping out of a plane, he was wrong! Frank is in remission today, but continues to dream of skydiving. Frank said this wish “keeps me going because I keep thinking, ‘I can do this!’”
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living sent Frank and Bruce skydiving on June 18, 2016. Frank always thought this Wish was the impossible dream. He says, “To be among birds, above the Earth, to fly like an eagle. What could be better than that?” Frank and Bruce loved having a thrill of a lifetime. Frank said, “I can’t describe how exhilarating it was. We had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I dreamed of doing this for 80 years. The first time I jumped, I fell 30 feet. This time I flew 16,500 feet!”
“The people below looked like ants. The buildings looked like postage stamps. The Earth looked totally different. It makes you really appreciate what we have in this life.”