John Cena is a force in the WWE ring and in the charity world. The Trainwreck star came in second place in DoSomething.org’s Athletes Gone Good 2015 competition behind Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cena’s philanthropic work is remarkable. He is the top partner with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and a supporter of the Kids Wish Network.
The wrestler granted his first wish in 2004, two years after kicking off his career with the WWE. He quickly became a fan-favorite in the wrestling universe, inspiring thousands of kids to fight on through tough times.
This popularity resonated with children on the Make-A-Wish program, and hundreds requested a day with Cena. In 2012, Cena granted his 300th wish and two years later, he reached the 400th wish milestone. He is the first celebrity to reach those two goals.
Cena took it one step farther in August 2015 and granted his 500th wish. His wish-making milestone makes John the organization’s most requested celebrity wish granter.
“I just drop everything,” Cena told the press. “If I can offer a fantastic experience, I’ll be first in line to do my part.”
More rewarding than being recognized for your work, is the opportunity to continue to achieve, and inspire. #nevergiveup
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 15, 2015
Rocco Lanzer, an 8-year-old boy from Queens, New York was the recipient of Cena’s 500th wish. Rocco was diagnosed in with leukemia in January 2015. Cena provided Rocco and his family with ringside seats for the weekly “Raw” television show and more priceless surprises.
The WWE team interviewed Rocco, and he said that Cena is “nice and strong and inspirational. He reminds kids to never give up.” Maria Lanzer, Rocco’s mom, said, “When he was diagnosed, everybody would tell him you have to be strong and you can never give up. He was like, `Wow, mommy, that’s what John Cena says.’ I’m like, `See, if a wrestler tells you to never give up, then you can’t give up. You have to fight and be strong.” “They certainly deserve a day as a real kid,” Cena added.
Cena is one of the many WWE stars to participate in the Make-A-Wish cause. Since the 1980s, more than 50 wrestlers from the organization have granted more than 6,000 wishes. Make-A-Wish CEO David Williams told the press that Cena is a wonderful part of the charity. “He’s an entertainer, but he’s a fighter,” Williams said. “Ultimately, these kids are fighting, just fighting a different kind of battle. That’s what resonates so much with these kids.”
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The budding actor is also an active spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer awareness foundation. Since partnering with the organization in 2012, Cena and the WWE raised more than $2 million to raise awareness and research for curing breast cancer.
The WWE is one of the organizations that celebrates breast cancer awareness month in October. In the fall, the WWE changes color of the middle ropes in the ring to pink and sells pink editions of WWE Superstar merchandise. All of the profits from the merchandise go to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Kids Wish Network
Cena is also an avid supporter of the Kids Wish Network. The organization’s goal is “infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children who are experiencing life-altering situations.” Similar to his work with Make-A-Wish, the 38-year-old wrestler grants wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses around the country. The WWE is also a partner with the Kids Wish Network, providing hundreds of children the chance to meet their favorite wrestlers.