A Life Dedicated to Helping Others

Lucio RamirezLucio Ramirez wants to transfer to a top university and make money. Sounds like a typical ambitious college student, until you hear the rest of his story.

Lucio was born in La Mirada. When he was four years old, his family moved to Mexico, but they later returned to California when he was 11 years old. Lucio always wanted to go to college, and was accepted to all of the California State Universities he applied for in his senior year of high school. However, his family couldn’t afford college, so he started working two days after the graduation.

When he was 20, he started working as a union boilermaker. For this job, he traveled all over the country and met people from various backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Lucio was on a roll, earning a good income and saving quite a bit. At this stage of his life, college took a back seat, but this experience opened his eyes to the diverse world.

Despite Lucio’s luck in the workforce, he found himself about to experience a string of misfortune.

At only 25 years old, Lucio suffered a massive heart attack. Luckily, he survived, but he exhausted his savings on medical bills and watched his debt skyrocket. The heart attack also left him unable to work. Lucio was later diagnosed with a Sudden Arrhythmia Death syndrome and was told that he would only live for a year. Coping with the aftermath of his diagnosis was tough. He feared that he could have a life-threatening relapse at any moment. Feeling depressed, Lucio even contemplated taking his own life.

As luck would have it, Lucio drove past Cerritos College one day, and he decided to stop by. He described his experience standing in the Administrative Quad a staff member warmly welcomed him. She showed him around, and told him all about the student support programs such as counseling, Disabled Student Programs and Services, financial aid, and transfer center, and how to enroll.

Life was about to get better for Lucio. In fall 2014, he enrolled at Cerritos College. Miraculously, his life expectancy increased from one year to five to ten years. After struggling with fear, doubt and despair about his condition, Lucio realized that he wanted to spend his life positively impacting others. He now had a clear vision that he wanted to spend his life helping others instead of becoming rich.

Lucio maintains a near 4.0 GPA while working on campus at the Transfer Center. He is active with Phi Beta Lambda and Phi Theta Kappa. When he is not in the class, planning events with his clubs or working, he helps students with their assignments. Since his heart attack, Lucio decided to laugh off anxiety and sadness with humor. “I simply don’t have time to waste around being depressed,” he said. He even jokes about the second relapse he suffered right in the middle of his final exams. “I had a battle with a nurse because I snuck in an accounting textbook and studied when I was supposed to be on complete rest,” he said.

The business management major plans to transfer to a top university, make connections with entrepreneurs, and raise funds to create a foundation that supports children who can’t afford  college, but wish to obtain college education. He also wants to open a legal and financial advising center for minority and underrepresented population.