This spring, Montini Catholic's Football Program retired the jersey number (#76) to forever preserve the legacy of special team member, Johnny Weiger†. Head Football Coach, Mike Bukovsky, presented a beautiful framed jersey to Johnny's parents, Karl and Fran Weiger, earlier this year.
Johnny Weiger joined Montini's school community for the 2011-12 school year as a member of the Class of 2015. He was also a member of Montini's football team with aspirations to continue his football career at Notre Dame. During Johnny's freshman year, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, his leukemia was cured. As Johnny was preparing for his sophomore year, however, he was hospitalized with a rare blood disorder commonly referred to as TTP, which can be caused by a bone marrow transplant. He passed away on November 4, 2012 due to complications from the TTP. "Throughout his battle with leukemia and TTP, Johnny displayed the spirit of a champion," said President Jim Segredo. "He always showed great courage, fight and a deep commitment to his faith."
The legacy of Johnny Weiger is celebrated every year at Montini Catholic's annual Charity Football Game. Fans attending this special game are encouraged to wear orange to spread awareness for those battling leukemia. Proceeds from this event go to the JAW (Johnny Always Wins) Foundation. (This year's game is scheduled for Friday, September 17th vs. St. Laurence High School.) The non-profit organization was founded by the Weiger Family to support Pediatric Adolescent Leukemia Support (PALS). JAW volunteers devote their time to raising funds for families with children undergoing treatment for leukemia in the hopes of easing their financial burden.
The Weiger family also presents an incoming freshman to the Bronco family with the Johnny Weiger Memorial Scholarship. A student displaying high moral character, a deep commitment to their faith, and achieving academic excellence at the grade school level, is selected each year to receive the scholarship.
A second frame representing Johnny's jersey number will be hung over the summer on the walls at Montini Catholic to be forever remembered by all members of the school community.
Image above - Coach Mike Bukovsky and senior Cooper Petersen (2020-21 recipient of the Spirit of 76 Award) with Johnny's jersey to be hung at Montini Catholic.