Thirsty for Life

Matt Frank

Matt Frank was transformed by thirst.

In his youth he was a high-performing athlete, thirsty for exhilaration. In university he was a dedicated student, thirsty for knowledge. At age 20 he was struck by an unquenchable thirst for water, a symptom of a noxious brain tumor squeezing his pituitary gland. And then … transformation. Today Matt is still thirsty, but his thirst is for grace.

Old Matt / New Matt

Matt grew up in Medicine Hat. In his teens he was an avid hiker, climber, and canoe, competing nationally and abroad on the Canadian Whitewater Kayaking Team.

In university, Matt studied kinesiology. In third year, while out for a run, he became insatiably thirsty. This marked the beginning of the transformation from old Matt to new Matt.

After months of misinformation, and tests, Matt learned he had lesions on his brain, likely there since birth. Brain surgery was grueling, followed by multiple rounds of radiation. Afterward he had to relearn how to walk.

Awakened Matt

During treatment Matt experienced a nudge to redirect his life. Driven by newly discovered empathy, he decided he wanted to become a nurse. As soon as he could, he reenrolled in university, switched faculties and completed his registered nursing degree.

It’s been eight years since his harrowing cancer ordeal, and awakened Matt is on an optimistic path in a career he loves. He still enjoys hiking and climbing, only now he is less driven to reach the highest peaks, and more apt to reach for the moment. And as for kayaking, it’s not the pitch of the race that moves him, but the soulful call of the loon.

After recovering from treatment and surgery, Matt found friendship, CAMARADERIE and meaningful Connections at Wellspring Calgary. “Wellspring helped tremendously,” he said.

Thirsty for Grace

“My life mission is to be a lighthouse, helping those who are suffering by showing them love and compassion. I believe that where there is the greatest amount of suffering there is the greatest opportunity to help,” said Matt.