Franks, who suffers from renal failure, is slated to receive a kidney next month from wife Brandi Franks, who turned out to be a match.
He is scheduled to have the transplant surgery on Feb. 20. It will not only be the start of a new life for him, but the answer to his prayers.
“It's really great. I would say it's brought us a lot closer together. We just have a great peace about it,” Franks said.
Franks, a 41-year-old Rusk resident, first found out about his kidney problems when he tried to enter the military after high school.
Mrs. Franks said he continued to go to the doctor for monitoring. Then about eight or nine years ago, his kidney functions got low enough for a transplant, she said. But he eventually improved.
Things changed once more last year. Mrs. Franks said she could tell by the way he felt that his kidneys weren't functioning as well, and doctors looked at putting him on the transplant list.
That's when Jennifer Sessions, who met Franks a couple of years ago through mutual friends, stepped in and volunteered to donate.
“One of my biggest desires since I was a young adult was to be an organ donor,” she wrote in an email. ”I had just assumed that I wouldn't need to be one until I was deceased but the thought of being a living donor, didn't scare me at all.”
So she sent Franks a message on Facebook and went through testing. In the end, she found out she wouldn't be able to donate a kidney.
Mrs. Franks said that left her as the next candidate.
“I think that Noel … didn't want it to be me. I think he was thinking genetics — 'What if something is wrong with our kids and they need a kidney?' He was a little more leery about it,” she said.
When the Rusk ISD nurse, 39, found out she was a match, she said she wasn't surprised.
“Up until that point, I just felt at peace about it,” she said. “It was a real easy decision. I think any spouse would do it and not think twice about it.”
Franks said seeing his wife work hard to be healthy makes him love her that much more, and he feels good going into the transplant.
“I feel a peace about everything and thankful for what everybody's doing to help,” he said.
As far as their three children — twin boys, age 16, and an 11-year-old daughter — Mrs. Franks said she thinks they feel good as well and want their father to feel better.
Once Franks has his transplant, he should be able to live a normal life and do anything he wants, his wife said. But he will have to take lifelong medicines.
Mrs. Franks said they are sharing their story now because they want people to be able to pray for them.
She said they have been Christians for several years, but through this trial, her husband, an oil field worker, has grown and is a man of God.
“He said he wants God to be glorified in whatever happens. … He has been in the Bible more, and God has given us peace about it …” she said.
“He'll say that God really did have bigger plans. He knew what He was doing.”
Mrs. Franks said she believes it's also brought their family together.
For Franks, he said the journey helped him become a better father and brought to light areas where he's been lacking.
“We all learn every day,” he said. “Nobody's perfect. After this whole process, we've really been amazed at the community — what they've done. You don't realize how many people out there love you.”
People like Paige Foreman, who grew up in Rusk, reconnected with the Franks through Facebook. She said the couple has been modest throughout the transplant process, and the only thing that's gotten them through is their faith.
A fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday to help pay medical expenses for the Franks. The surgery is expected to cost about $250,000, and the lifetime of anti-rejection medicines will cost $2,000 to $5,000 per month, Ms. Sessions said via email. She said she now wants to raise as much money as she can for the Franks at the fundraiser.
Mrs. Franks said she hopes the fundraiser will raise awareness for organ donation and that more people might consider being a living donor.
It's also good for the community to see people helping others, she said.
“I just hope it's a blessing. I pray for it. We could be on dialysis. Obviously, I know that God has a plan for us, and He's not surprised by any of it,” she said.
The takeaway message from Franks: “Never give up no matter what you go through (and) just keep having faith in God, and He'll get you through it.”