When WWE wrestler and actor John Cena isn’t in the ring or the movie set, he’s making the dreams of children with critical illness come true.Cena has been working with the Make-a-Wish foundation since 2004.And he’s helped to grant more wishes than any other celebrity in the charity’s 42-year existence.
The 45-year-old was recently celebrated for granting more than 650 wishes.“I just drop everything,” Cena said, according to KTLA, when he granted his 500 wishes. “If I can offer a fantastic experience, I’ll be first in line to do my part.”And Make-a-Wish families love Cena just as much as he loves granting wishes.
The charity says he’s the most requested celebrity by the children they serve.
“The reason I love Make-A-Wish so much is because those are those families’ wishes,” Cena said, according to DailyMail. “You can do anything you want, and Make-A-Wish’s list is enormous, they literally will do anything you want – ‘I want to kick it with John Cena and go see him wrestle’ – that is the coolest thing I have ever heard in my life.”
Cena’s work touches the lives of their families long after their wish has been granted.
He’ll often get messages from families telling them how much it meant to their children to spend time with him during what are the final days of some children’s lives.
“Those are always difficult to read,” Cena said. “But at the same time, the strength of the parents in sending me a message about how much the time that I spent with their child meant to them, it’s very special.”
While Cena is helping to bring joy and comfort to many families, he says those feelings are mutual.
“All those things considered, I love all that – I love that joy, I love that connection,” he said.
One of Cena’s most recent visits was to a 19-year-old fan with Down syndrome who said that Cena helped him to cultivate the strength and bravery to flee Ukraine during the Russian invasion.
Cena met with the family, who fled Mariupol in March, in the Netherlands.
The child’s mother told her son, who had posters of Cena on his wall before they left Ukraine, that Cena would be there to greet them at the end of their travels.
She used the story as motivation to help him along the journey but that dream ended up becoming a reality.
“When I read about Misha’s story it reached out to me – not just Misha‘s story but his mom’s as well,” Cena said. “Having three days off from work right at the time I read the story, and being an hour away by air, it turned into ‘We’re going,’ and that means spending an afternoon building blocks, eating cake – that’s a special afternoon when it comes to new friends I was able to meet.”
Cena said that he has made iT clear to Make-a-Wish that his charity work is his priority.
“I said, ‘If you ever need me for this ever, I don’t care what I’m doing, I will drop what I’m doing and be involved because I think that’s the coolest thing,’” Cenda said. “We’ve all experienced that joy of giving a gift for the holidays where you just nail it — that’s the same gift I get in giving back to people’s lives, in being able to give them wonderful emotional moments.”
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