Frank Martin wasn’t originally going to do the piece.
When ESPN approached him about sharing his near-death experience and being saved by a guardian angel, he declined but then got to thinking.
After the piece aired Sunday, he’s glad he did.
“I said, ‘It’s a powerful thing. If it can help someone else out there realize that it’s real and the importance of faith and prayer and God; if it gives someone else hope, why not?’” Martin said. “It was a difficult chapter in my life. It gives me perspective on how to live.”
In the story, Martin was hospitalized with a fever that didn’t spike for close to three weeks. He said he was on the “dark side” with people arranging flights to come see him before he died.
Then, one night, a nurse came to pray with the family and Martin was miraculously healed the next day. There was no record of that nurse ever working at the hospital and Martin said he still believes she’s a guardian angel.
“I know my wife and my uncle, who were there, start speaking about it I know they’re moved to tears and to nerves,” Martin said. “I’ve sat with my uncle, who I've got a special bond with and seen the emotion and his hands shaking 12 years later of feeling the heat coming through his body as that lady was praying over me. That’s powerful stuff, man.”
He knew most of what was going into the piece, but there was one thing, though, he didn’t.
At the very end, the piece said people called the Kansas City Star, which originally ran the piece in the late 2000s on Martin being hospitalized, saying they saw the same nurse the Martin family did and the next day they were healed.
That’s the thing, Martin said that really hit him emotionally and gave him perspective on why he told the story.
“I’m getting goose bumps here thinking about it,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
The story aired on ESPN Sunday morning and the response on social media has been overwhelming. Martin said he read most of the comments and even had players texting him all day Sunday wanting to talk to him about it.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari called him and said the priest at church was talking about Martin’s story at mass as well.
It’s those moments, and even ones locally, that Martin said is the reason he shared it.
He goes to a chiropractor in town and one of the assistants’ nephews was sent home and was hospitalized with leukemia. Martin said she told him he had two weeks to live.
But, like Martin did, the child seems to be on the road to serious recovery.
“I went in there this morning and the local hospital cleared him with a clean bill of health and there’s no leukemia,” he said. “That’s why I shared it. To give people hope.”