Western's Cesar Lucero

Current Fundraisers:

Teachers Homecoming King and Queen. Teachers your support is need to help raise funds for Cesar. Please submit your name to Mrs. McMillion to be considered for Teacher homecoming King and Queen by Jan. 17. Your name will be on the ballot for students to vote. Voting will take place at the green counter during Spirit Week (January 23-26), votes will cost .50 and all proceeds will go to help Caesar. The winning teachers will be announced and crowned at the Pep Rally (3:00-5:00) on January 26, 2006. The next day, Friday, Jan. 27, the King and Queen can wear their crown and sash to school to contribute to school spirit. Please return your forms as soon as possible and help raise money for this cause.

Mr. Western is donating part of their proceeds to Cesar's fund. Please join us on Feb. 9 at 7 PM in the auditorium to see who will be the next MR. WESTERN and help Cesar reach his goal of $100,000.

Thank you for your support...
The Weston Rotary club annual holiday run all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast held on Dec. 11 at Cypress Bay was a great success. The proceeds will be donated to Cesar's fund. Come back soon to how much we raised.

-The Lucero benefit dinner we raised $650.

Please continue to visit our site for more fundraisers and ways you can help his family reach their goal.

If you are interested in donating to the Lucero Home Sweet Home fund email: or visit
Thank you for your support. All donations are tax deductible.

Cesar's House we are trying to help rebuild...

Inside his house...

Sun-Sentinel article
Western's Cesar Lucero is unbreakable
By Christy Cabrera Chirinos
Posted September 18 2005

DAVIE -- On the other side of the field, Jarred Corey is sprinting, eluding would-be defenders trying to bring him down.

Cesar Lucero watches from the Western sideline, away from the cluster of players three times his size, his fist pumping, his voice clearly audible from underneath his Wildcats visor.

"That's the way to do it," Lucero cries, clapping his hands as Corey trots off the field after scoring a touchdown on the first punt return of Western's season opener. "That's how you start a game."

Lucero turns to the players, celebrating their early lead, and smiles broadly.

"I love this game," he yells at them, his frame shaking and his feet dangling from the wheelchair that allows him to be so close to the sport that he will never play, but that has become a passion.

In a way, football also has become a lifeline, something that has inspired Lucero to believe that even though his body is limited by a rare condition that makes his bones as delicate as fine crystal, there are still many things he can do.

And working with the football team is one of them.

"After coming out here for that first practice, I thought I could accomplish anything," Lucero says with a smile. "It felt like a dream come true that day."

A year after that practice, Lucero is a student-coach for the Wildcats. He helps the staff run practice, and pushes players to work harder. During games, he maneuvers up and down the sideline in his motorized wheelchair, watching the Wildcat offense -- the unit he works with most often -- and making sure they're pushing themselves on the field.

"Cesar would give anything to be out on that field with us," said Jared Martin, Western's highly recruited lineman. "He'd give anything to be in our position and we force ourselves to do our best for him."


Football has given Lucero hope. On nights like this, when Western started the season with a convincing 32-3 win over Douglas, football gives Lucero a reason to smile.

And now the game that he wants to be such a part of and the players who surround him may give him something else -- a second chance.

Lucero, 19, is confined to his wheelchair because of "brittle bone disease," a condition that causes numerous fractures, as he would say, "very, very easily." His small body is filled with metal rods that provide a support system and aid his growth.

Lucero has endured more than 50 surgeries, including a massive operation in 1997 during which his vertebrae were fused with steel rods to keep his spine from crushing his heart and lungs. And now, as Lucero grows, he needs another operation, this time to remove a rod in his shoulder.

But like the football players he admires so much, Lucero wants his surgery after the season. He doesn't want to miss any games.

There's a good chance though, that Lucero's wish will come true. But it isn't for the reasons he wants. His family can't afford the operation and Medicaid dropped his coverage three years ago. Lucero's parents -- Leonardo and Josie -- don't have the insurance to provide the surgery.

"It's been hard," Josie Lucero admits, her voice shaking. "He had therapies and treatments and he's missing those now. But we work hard and we have all we need."

Osteogenesis imperfecta, Lucero's condition, affects from 20,000 to 50,000 Americans, and can stunt growth and be excruciatingly painful. Even being home provides little comfort. Lucero, his parents and his younger brother, 17-year-old Albert, are crammed into a tiny, weathered mobile home blocks from Western. Parts of the roof are peeled and the walls are bare.

Water stains mark the ceiling; every time South Florida is threatened by a hurricane, the Luceros scramble to find safe haven. When Katrina blew through three weeks ago, the family stayed at the home of Cesar's godmother, Maria Mazzei.

And while the home fared well through yet another storm, there's little doubt the conditions are far from ideal for anyone in a wheelchair. Hallways are tight, providing little room for Lucero to maneuver. He shares a room with his mother, who tends to most of his physical needs.

Leonardo and Albert work at a country club. But there are times the limited income falls short of the family's, and especially Cesar's, needs.

"This is a good family that doesn't ask for anything or take advantage of anyone," Mazzei said. "They're a family that can be an example to anyone because as much as they need, they want to help however they can."


That desire to help has led Lucero to volunteer at St. Bonaventure, the church across from Western High that the family and Mazzei attend. He has helped Mazzei, who is active within the parish, with mailouts and envelope campaigns. He is active in the music ministry, playing guitar with the youth choir.

His enthusiasm has made him popular at St. Bonaventure and Western, and Mazzei decided to seek help from the school, as well as the church, to see whether funds could be raised to help the family. Eventually, word got around to the football team.

When coach Doug Dutton learned that one of his own was in such need, he was shocked.

"He never brought any of it to light, but when we saw the extent of the need, we wanted to help in any way we could," Dutton said. "Just as we would for anyone that was a part of our program."

It was then that the football team rallied to provide whatever help it could. Fund-raisers have been planned for the remainder of Western's season and donations are accepted at Wildcat games.

In one night, the booster club raised $1,100 for the Lucero Home Sweet Home project, a program established by Mazzei and members of the St. Bonaventure community. Lucero and his family are grateful for the help but prefer to focus on what they already have, instead of what they lack.

"I've seen some kids that can't even talk or they have much more severe conditions than I do," Lucero said. "I think that's one of the reasons I just stay positive. It's a blessing to be as normal as myself."


Lucero finds part of his sense of normalcy in sports. Like most high school seniors, he loves video games; Madden NFL 2006, his most recent acquisition, is one of his favorites. His father introduced him to baseball and Lucero grew up loving the Atlanta Braves. He's happy the NHL is back and he can't wait to watch the Panthers. His face lights up when he talks about Shaquille O'Neal and the Heat.

But nothing compares with football.

Even though the game is brutal, Lucero can't get enough of it. And one day, he hopes to follow former Dolphins coach Doug Blevins, who worked with kickers despite being in a wheelchair.

"I wish I could be out there with the rest of the guys because I love football," Lucero said. "To be good out there, you have to give it your all. If one man doesn't do his part, it screws everything up. It's a complete team effort all the time."

Lucero's parents and doctors have encouraged his involvement with football. Despite the severity of his condition -- one stray tackle could do severe damage -- being around the sport has given Lucero confidence.

Dr. Michael Jofe, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital who has operated on Lucero a number of times, believes that as long as his patient is on guard, there's no reason for Lucero to stay away from the field.

"We take care of kids with Cesar's condition and always encourage them to be involved," Jofe said. "He knows to be careful and he knows the precautions. We've spoken about it. But there's no extraordinary risk. We want him to have as normal a childhood as he can and I think it's terrific that he's doing that with football."

Lucero has taken his doctor's orders to heart. On game day, he's always a few feet away from the cluster of players right on the bench. His wheelchair gives him the mobility to move from end zone to end zone, and every few minutes, a player comes up to him, bends down and shares a joke.

On occasion, Lucero, the prankster, has threatened to run over the feet of some of the team's most massive linemen. But the players treat him as an equal and they love having Lucero beside them as much as he loves being there.

"He's out here every day like we are, sweating like we are," Martin said. "He doesn't like to show any weakness, but he's thanked us for what we're doing. He's great."

Christy Cabrera Chirinos can be reached at ccabrera@sun-sentinel.com.