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Black Caesar benefit for Chazz Maupin Sunday at The Mermaid

February 24, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Chazz Maupin, also known as Black Caesar, has been a well-known and well-loved resident of the Fort Myers Beach community for years. He's a fixture of the island and often seen donning warrior, pirate or mercenary armor, "battling" at the Medieval Faire or strolling the Pirate Festival with a Viking mug in hand. He is a strong individual and a warrior at heart. These words couldn't be more true when he started experiencing horrible spasms down his spine spasms that would debilitate most. In fact, most would have called an ambulance. Chazz walked right through the front door of the Emergency Room.

After being transported to three hospitals (the final one in Gainesville by way of helicopter air transport), it was discovered he experienced a brain aneurism, something doctors think may have been a result from when he was hit by a car as a small boy.

"I was dosed three times with radiation, and was in the neural ward of the Gainesville hospital for three weeks," Chazz said. Even as a patient in a ward where most are mainly immobile, Chazz was walking the hallways and had all the nurses smiling. "I'm a fighter, and I wasn't going to let that keep me down. I was driving the nurses crazy because I was the only guy walking the halls."

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After experiencing a disheartening brain aneurism, a very special benefit for island local Chazz Maupin will be held Sunday, March 1, from noon to sunset, at The Mermaid. Enjoy live music, food, fun, raffles, games and more. Above, Chazz, dressed as a pirate mercenary, speaks with some princess onlookers shortly after a live action chess match at a recent Medieval Faire. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

Doctors placed a stint and coils in a lobe of his brain to prevent blood flow to the aneurism. Now begins his journey to wellness, but this will be a lifelong recovery, with regular doses of medications and treatments. Although he's already gone back to work, it can only be part time, due to the need to rest often, and deal with headaches.

"I have to take it easy now. I often have to take a break, getting tired and dizzy at times. I've been on a lots of meds to help with the circulation," he said.

The Black Caesar benefit

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Friends are coming together to do what they can to help raise funds to assist with the high medical bills that we all know come about after a stay at the hospital.

Dubbed as the Black Caesar Benefit, all are encouraged to head down to The Mermaid Lounge's backyard patio, 1204 Estero Blvd., Sunday, March 1, from noon to sunset, to support a wonderful local icon and have fun in the process.

"This is going to be an all-day family fun event, and we are so excited to see it all coming together," said Sandy Blue, close friend of Chazz and organizer of the benefit. "As Chazz is quite a character, and many of his friends are characters, we are going to have all types of great things going on that day face painting, balloon animals, a drum circle, live music and it's all pirate-themed, so everyone is encouraged to dress up in their pirate gear and come down for the fun."

T-Bone, Space Ghost and Friends will be jamming on the stage throughout the day, and other musicians are welcome to join in on the fun. A wealth of wonderful prizes have been donated by local businesses for several raffle drawings that day, ranging from hotel stays and fishing trips to merchandise and several gift certificates to tasty eateries around town.

"We are also going to have a grand prize that day, where all who entered the previous raffles have a chance to win," Sandy said. "There will also be 50/50s and much more."

Enjoy plenty of pizza and pasta from Ray's Pizza that day, as well as sweets like cheesecake and other tasty baked goods at the bake sale. Then, right around sunset, Sandy is hoping all will stick around to get a great big group shot of the benefit guests in front of The Mermaid, as well as along the Fort Myers Beach shore.

"We are going to have such a great group of people down there that day we are really hoping you will all please stay with us so we can get everyone in the sunset pictures," Sandy requested. "Chazz has always been there helping and volunteering on the island. Let's all get together to help him. This event is going to be a lot of fun, and all are encouraged to come by and join the bazaar. Musicians are welcome to join in, anyone with any type of artistic talent, like stilt walkers, jugglers, fire dancers, are welcome to display their skill. He has such an eclectic collection of friends, this is going to be a lot of fun for the whole family. Pets are welcome, kids are welcome. Come down for the day and have fun with us."

If an establishment would like to make a donation to the raffle prizes, if you can donate a baked good for the bake sale, or if you'd like to lend a helping hand during the benefit as a volunteer, feel free to call Sandy, 239-410-9150. If you'd like to make a donation to Chazz's recovery, an account at Wells Fargo has been opened. Just visit any Wells Fargo location and let them know the donation is for "Chazz Maupin/Black Caesar Benefit," and the funds will go directly to the source. The account will remain open through the end of April.

Also, feel free to RSVP?to the official Facebook Event Page for the benefit by searching "Benefit for Chazz 'Black Caesar' Maupin."

Originally from Lexington, Ky., Chazz started his Florida adventure on the east coast, coming over to Southwest Florida and Fort Myers Beach just two years before Hurricane Charley, to help his younger sister through her pregnancy.

Skilled in the art of Krav Maga and other martial arts, he is trained in gladiatorial battle and loves taking part in Medieval Faires and Pirate Festivals around town, as his kindred warrior spirit can really come through then. Fueled by the passion of a gladiator, Chazz is humbled by the compassion of the island community, coming together to help him during his recovery. "I'd cry, but my tear ducts aren't working right now from all the meds," he laughed. "I'm not allowed to cry, anyway, for this whole warrior tradition pirates can't cry. But if I could, I certainly would. I'm so grateful."



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