Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pilot's gift to her dad

The thought of losing a father was the scariest thing that's ever happened to Frances Nagatalevu.

It was back in 2010, her father was sick and needed a kidney. His two elder daughters were pregnant and his only son, Frances' twin, was asthmatic. So it all came down to his third daughter and pilot, Frances, to give a kidney to their father.

Frances hopes sharing her story will be a lesson to others who take family for granted. She said she was able to do what was necessary through the grace of God.

"We spent three months in India, we were basically temporary residents," Frances said.

"This was one of my toughest times, the thought of losing my father was the scariest thing ever. But everything happens for a reason and for us, it brought us closer as a family and closer to God.

"The power of prayer, you'll be amazed at what the Lord can do for you if you put your faith in him."

While in India, she was interviewed to determine whether she was giving her kidney on her own free will. One of the questions focused on the possibility of her not carrying on as a pilot.

"I just told them, 'I will find something else to do'. I've always wanted to do marine science.

"But I can now say I'm a pilot with one kidney," she said with a laugh. "I didn't get here by my own strength. It's by the grace of God I get to do what I love to do and that is flying."

The Rakiraki, Yale, Kadavu native who has maternal links to Ogea, Lau said they had gone through so much as a family but she thanked God for everything He had done for their family.

Her father was a senior air traffic controller back then and so the young Frances spent most of her days at the CAAF (Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji) quarters in Nadi with her siblings.

Frances had a dream and that was to be a marine biologist as she loved the ocean. However, her parents offered to pay for her fees to attend flying school.

"After my first flight, I never looked back, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

"Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is a challenge. If men can do it, what is stopping women? I'm a very competitive person, I like a challenge. Like my uncle always says, 'if the sky is the limit, then to me the limit is the sky'."

If there was someone Frances would like to dedicate her achievements to, it would not be one but two people, as her parents have been her source of inspiration.

"My parents mean the world to me and the meaning of success to me personally is making them proud, nothing satisfies me more then putting a smile on their faces.

"They worked hard every day just so we could have a better life than they did. So everything I do now is for them."

Frances loves her career, she loves flying, she loves taking on challenges and treasures every moment of her career because they help her to look forward to every day and to what life has to offer.

"If I was to give advice about looking for a career, it would be 'whatever makes you happy'.

"I suffered a lot of ups and downs. But who hasn't? Just get back up and dust yourself off.

"God has a plan for everyone, we just need to trust Him."


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