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Community Comes Together for Wheelchair-Bound Man

KINGSTON — A man from Luzerne County who’s partially disabled learned this week he has stage-four liver cancer. When the community and area business...

KINGSTON -- A man from Luzerne County who's partially disabled learned this week he has stage-four liver cancer.

When the community and area businesses found out they decided to step in and help. Among other things, they are building a new wheelchair ramp outside his home.

The man, whose name is Fred Whitesell, lives along Division Street in Kingston. He can't walk, he's wheelchair bound, and normally his son and others would have to carry him down the steps outside his home -- not an easy thing to do, especially when it's raining.

Now the family believes that wheelchair ramp will give him a new sense of freedom.

To Fred, the stairs at his home in Kingston feel less like a path to his front door and more like a wall, blocking the outside. When he does have to leave the house, getting Fred, who's wheelchair-bound, down the stairs is never easy.

And recently, he's been diagnosed with cancer.

"I was shocked, if he wasn't in the hospital, no one would have known he had cancer," said his son Heath Rusinko.

His son posted to Facebook about his dad's condition. That's when his friend Donny Evans saw the post. Evans owns a roof cleaning business and asked his friends to help Fred.

"I called a couple of my friends. Within the hour, we made it happen," said Evans.

He called Gilroy Construction to build a wheelchair ramp to the home, Evolutionarily Computers to donate money towards lunch for the family, and then Mizenko Mobile and Wireless.

"They were looking for some help with either construction or going out to eat, so we gave them a gift certificate to go out to eat today when they get home," said Mizenko Mobile and Wireless owner Mark Mizenko.

Fred could not be more thrilled about how the community came together for him.

"Everybody is helping, they put it together," he said.

"It's certainly going to give him freedom that he hasn't had in five to six years now," said Fred's wife Wendy Whitesell.

Crews hope to give freedom back and finish the ramp to his home sometime Saturday.