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Saving Captain Crunch

When John Draper aka Captain Crunch is on form, great things happen. A legend in the hacking community, he taught others how to avoid long distance charges using the infamous Blue Box. He went on to invent EasyWriter, the first ever word processor for the Apple II – the world’s first word processor designed for the general public.

12/7/2010 John Draper reviewing his medical costs during breakfast

When John Draper (aka Captain Crunch) is on form, great things happen. A legend in the hacking community, he taught others how to avoid long distance charges using the infamous Blue Box and went to jail for it.

Not being one to waste time, he made good use of his months behind bars writing software, and went on to invent EasyWriter, the first ever word processor for the Apple II, the world’s first word processor designed for the general public. “People worldwide might not be typing on word processors today if it weren’t for foundation laid by the pioneering work of John Draper,” says Tolga Katas, who has worked on various projects with John Draper for years.

By any standard, he’s an icon of the digital age.

But today, he’s in great pain and risks losing the use of his hands and arms.

The problem started at the Def Con convention in late July of this year, when an overzealous fan gave him a hug and Crunch immediately felt a stabbing pain in his shoulders. The pain has worsened ever since. A few critical nerves have been trapped and despite a program of physical therapy and painkillers, Crunch’s fingers and forearms are now approaching total paralysis.

The situation is critical.

Crunch is in such pain that he can barely put his shoes on in the morning. One of the pioneers of the Word Processor can barely type any more, let alone code. And the doctors have told him that within 3-6 months he risks losing the use of his hands permanently because trapped nerves die after a while. But wait – there is some good news.

The Solution – Surgery?

One doctor tells him straightforward surgical procedure can release the trapped nerves before they wither away, and return life to his hands.

The bad news is that Crunch cannot afford it. It costs $6,000 just for the Medical co-pay for the surgery, $2,000 for the post-surgery convalescence and even more for the drugs and physical therapy that will get him back at his Mac and coding again.

Another doctor recommends a more expensive, non-surgical laser procedure estimated around $25,000. And still others have different suggestions.

Regardless, John needs money desperately and a site has been donated to help the man who created the first commercially available word processor – keep typing himself.  Donations have been trickling in from around the world. However, with excitement in his eyes, he reveals that he received a significant donation from longtime friend, Steve Wozniak.

As it stands now, it’s painful for Captain Crunch to hold his fork or to type on the computer. On bad days, he  relies on Mac speech-to-text to make his posts on Facebook where he keeps his fans and friends up-to-date on his status. He also asks his facebook friends for their advice and gets ample comments from people trying to steer him in the right direction.

If you are interested in helping or learning more, check out:

www.savingcaptaincrunch.com

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