Tissue implant helps Montana woman get back to her mission

Fran Albrecht | Tissue recipient

Fran Albrecht has dedicated her life to helping others. She’s a past director of an emergency children’s shelter, and now she serves as the Chief Philanthropy Officer of Providence Montana Health Foundation, where her work supports health care provided in hospitals and medical clinics across Western Montana. She’s also a dedicated mother of two.

Fran Albrecht doing yogaWhen Fran was injured in a ski accident, the roles were reversed — and suddenly she needed help. The devastating mishap resulted in an impaction fracture of her tibial plateau and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. Fran found herself bedridden. She was unable to work or care for her family for several weeks.

“I have compassion for people who are immobile,” Fran said. “There are a lot of inconveniences, but the worst part was the impact on the work I do every day, which is serving others.”

Her doctor explained that once the bone fracture healed, the best option would be a tissue implant from a donor to repair her ACL. “It would help me recover much more quickly, as opposed to using my own tissue, which would prolong the process,” she said.

Fran underwent the procedure a few weeks after her accident. Within a few months, she was able to gradually return to the activities she loves, including walking, hiking, skiing — and yoga, which has a special importance to her. “I began doing yoga when I was leading the emergency children’s shelter, and it’s been critical for my mental health and balance,” she said. “I believe it helps me be a better wife, a better mother, a better leader, a better colleague.”

But most importantly, the tissue implant has enabled Fran to continue her life’s work to support essential care in her community and beyond. “I don’t know if I have the words to express my gratitude for such an incredible gift,” she said. “It has allowed me to continue to be my best in service to others. I work with amazing people, whose ultimate focus is to care for every patient, often in a very vulnerable time when they need lifesaving care. I see it as a mission. I hope I will honor the person who gifted this ACL to me with how I live my life.”