Golf tournament held to benefit South Dade principal Javier Perez

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Golfers hit the links, Saturday, in support of a high school principal who has been showing South Florida his strength and determination since surviving a life-changing accident.

7News cameras captured South Dade Senior High School principal Javier “Javi” Perez riding shotgun in a golf cart at the Redland Golf and Country Club in Southwest Miami-Dade. “I feel great. I feel great,” he said.

Perez, who lost his legs in April 2016 after he was run over by a suspected drunk driver at Tamiami Park, came to the golf tournament held in his honor, along with his family, friends and those who have been cheering him on during his recovery.

Perez has been gaining ground, step by grueling step. He recently invited 7News to watch him take his first steps with the help of prosthetic legs.

Weeks later, the strong swings keep coming, as do the funds raised through Saturday’s tournament to help the family pay for Perez’s medical bills. “The response was so great, that we had to actually close out the registration,” said Maytee Perez, the principal’s wife.

Among the participants at the event was Joel Furani, the athletic director for South Dade Senior High before he retired. “It’s all about you, Javi, all about you,” he said.

Furani said he’s heartened by his friend’s remarkable recovery. “We’re just real proud about the way that he’s conducting his lif,e and he’s an inspiration to all of us,” he said.

Perez, meanwhile, gave 7News an update on his progress. My recovery has gone great as far as therapy,” he said. I’ve been eating better, gaining a little weight, working out every day as well in the gym.”

This champion is grateful and as “Javi strong” as ever. “The support from my family and friends has me doing as well as I’m doing,” he said.

Perez’s injuries came when he was hit by a car while at his son’s T-ball ball game. The driver, 51-year-old Marilyn Aguilera, was charged with DUI and causing major bodily harm.

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