Raleigh firefighters help comrade battling bone disease

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Steve Franks is battling spinal stenosis, which forced him to retire after 23 years as a firefighter.

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A downtown Raleigh firefighter is rallying other local firemen to help one of their own, who was forced to retire after 23 years of serving Wake County because of a degenerative condition called spinal stenosis.

Scott Franks always wanted to be a firefighter, like his father. He signed as a volunteer at the 18 and then never looked back.

"You cannot do this job without wanting to help people," Franks said.

But now it's Franks who needs help in fighting a different battle altogether. He's had steel rods placed in his back after blowing out several disks in his spine and doctors said he'll be wheelchair-bound soon.

You can donate to Scott Frank's GoFundMe page here.

"I'll probably have some sort of pain for the rest of my life," he said.

It's why Frank's firefighting buddies rushed to help. Battalion Chief Kevin Coppage created a GoFundMe page.

And Kevin Radford, a captain on Ladder 4 at Raleigh Station 1, has known Franks since high school.

"He said 'I really didn't think anybody cared' you know that's what he told me, course I kind of teared up too," Radford said. "He doesn't like handouts and stuff like that so he looks at it as a blessing he's been praying over a lot."

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Paying off medical bills, buying a wheelchair, making his house to make wheelchair accessible -- those are all some of the things the guys at Station 1 are hoping to do for Franks.

"He's not been outside in two years to even push his kids on a swing," Radford said.

Right now it's difficult for Franks to do even the simplest things, such as taking a shower in his own home. It's these things Radford said he wants to fix.

"'Till you know somebody like that, that's only in their 40s and has got a long life to live, you know, it kind of hits us all hard," Radford said.

Franks said he couldn't be more grateful for Radford's friendship.

"He always thinks of other people before himself," he said of Radford.

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