Much has been said about the stigma attached to the reputation of professional wrestling. The pseudo world of sports and entertainment has its fair share of critics, pundits and bashers, most of whom choose to harp on the negative aspect of the industry. However, there are many individuals who compete in the ring that also lend a helping hand to those in need outside of it.
One of those individuals is John Felix Anthony Cena, better known simply as John Cena. The 11-time WWE Champion is the face of the company as well as a spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a US non-profit organization that grants children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Kids as young as two years old can request their favorite celebrity or sports figure to come spend time with them. Cena has been the most requested figure in Make-A-Wish history, with over 300 wishes granted overall. The “baby-face” good guy in professional wrestling is undefeated when it comes to making sick kids happy.
The presence of a dying child’s hero can make that child’s day, month, year or even lifetime. For instance, one of the most memorable moments in Today Show’s history was back in April when 8-year old Make-A-Wish kid Nick Santillo, who was born with half a heart, made an appearance with his family. Santillo told co-hosts Kathy Lee-Gifford and Hoda Kotb that his favorite WWE superstar was Cena. Little did he know Cena was backstage waiting to meet him and acknowledge his courageous attitude, That is what makes Cena the ultimate hero of heroes. He cares about the community, gives back whenever he can and always wears a smile on his face while doing it.
Last year, 12-year old Dylan Christian lost his fourth battle with cancer. He had met Cena during his fourth battle and the company’s top superstar called Christian a hero. Cena invited the boy to WrestleMania 28, an event in which he headlined versus Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and gave him the experience of his short lifetime. It’s moments like this that really put life and everything else into perspective.
Once upon a time, I was a pro wrestling fan and like many others, I had my favorites. While I respected his talent and in-ring ability, Cena was not one of them. However, what this man does for those in need must not go unnoticed. He is the definition of a great human being and the charity work he’s done for children is second to none. With all that he’s done to perfect his craft on the road 300 days a year, the time that he takes away from his job goes to more than great use. It helps children fulfill their last dreams.
Right now Cena is out of action with a torn triceps muscle he suffered in August. Although his surgery was successful, he won’t be back for at least another 4-6 months, with late January serving as his earliest possible return. Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery for one of the few selfless individuals in the sports entertainment world. A wise man named Abraham Lincoln said it best, “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” In the eyes of many sick and dying children, myself and millions of others, John Cena will always stand tall.
By Brian Jerry