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Hacker Cap'n Crunch starts GoFundMe to pay for surgery

Commentary: John Draper, aka the uber "phone freaker," suffers from a degenerative spinal disease.

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John Draper, in need of serious surgery.

Bitspiration/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Hackers used to be people who coughed a lot.

Then along came pioneers of the art like John Draper.

In the late '60s, he found a way to get free phone calls on AT&T, using a sophisticated hacking tool: a whistle that came from a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal. It happened to enjoy the very same tonal frequency as AT&T used to reset its phone lines.

Draper became known as Captain Crunch and was a hero to many, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Now, however, Draper is seriously ill. He and his friends have launched a GoFundMe page to help finance a nine-hour surgery, which he underwent on March 28, to alleviate the effects of a degenerative spinal disease.

Draper will have to undergo a four- to six-month recovery period. If he hadn't had the surgery, he risked paralysis. Even now that he's had it, it will only give him a 50 percent chance of leading normal life.

The campaign is seeking $15,000.

On Sunday, Draper took to his Facebook account to explain: "The money I make from that is going to allow me to hire somebody to bring me food and go shopping for me again."

As for his current condition, he said: "I am laying down in bed I cannot move, I have to depend on Siri. I want to thank you all for your concerns and wishes."

And now there's a need for more than just concerns and wishes.

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