Retired Marion firefighter, amputee meets dolphin with prosthetic tail | News
MARION, IL (KFVS) - Retired Marion city firefighter and amputee Frank McCree recently traveled to Florida where he met a dolphin with a prosthetic tail.
In 2003, at the age of 45, McCree noticed a sore on his foot. Tests revealed it was synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, and McCree was forced to have his leg amputated below-the-knee a few months later to save his life.
In 2008, the cancer found its way to McCree's left lung which required surgery to remove the cancerous piece of the lung and extensive chemotherapy treatment. During this time, McCree coached his daughter's high school basketball team and even ran sprints with the girls using his prosthetic leg.
Currently, McCree is in remission and is doing fantastic. He recently returned from a trip to Florida with his wife Connie and daughter Erin, who is now a junior in college and looking for a graduate school to study veterinary medicine.
Before the trip, McCree's Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics practitioner Darla Cislaghi arranged for him and his family to meet with a fellow amputee, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. The family said it was the highlight of their trip.
The young Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Winter, saw stranded and caught in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral in December 2005 when she was 18 months old. Winter's tail fluke eventually came off because it was severely damaged by the trap's rope entanglement.
Thanks to Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics Vice President of Prosthetics Kevin Carroll and his colleague Dan Strzempka, Winter became the first dolphin to have her entire tail fluke replaced with a prosthetic device.
Winter's story will be featured nationwide in a 3D feature film called "Dolphin Tale" on September 23.
In 2003, McCree retired from the fire department and has built houses with his father-in-law, who is coincidental an amputee as well. McCree is currently employed by Home Re-Nu as a carpenter.
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