AUSTINTOWN, Ohio - A local boy battling a life-threatening condition is granted his wish to meet wrestler John Cena, thanks to Kids Wish Network and some local sponsors.
Tyler is an 11-year-old boy who deals with difficult challenges on a daily basis. Having been diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy – an illness that affects the entire body – at just six months of age, simple tasks have become impossible for Tyler. He relies on a wheelchair or walker for mobility, as he is unable to walk on his own. To date, Tyler has undergone 11 surgeries to attempt to get him walking, but they have failed to correct the issue.
Kids Wish Network, a national charity dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories and improving the quality of life for children, has been in operation for over 13 years. With their various programs, Kids Wish Network has touched the lives of over 73,000 children across the country this year alone. Tyler is one of those special children.
Tyler was referred to Kids Wish Network by a family friend who’s child also had a wish granted by the organization. When it came time for Tyler to pick his wish, Jennifer said the choice was simple.
“John Cena is his favorite wrestler and wrestling is the main thing he watches. He really enjoys it and wanted to meet him,” she said.
With his wish confirmed, Kids Wish Network got to work in laying out the plans for Tyler’s wish. With the help of some local Austintown sponsors, Kids Wish Network arranged a very special experience for Tyler. Not only did he get to meet John Cena and attend a wrestling match at the Mellon Arena, but Tyler and his family got to experience some other fun activities. They visited the Senator John Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and got a Just Ducky tour. Some special dinners were set up for Tyler and his family and they were also given tickets to the Pittsburg Zoo and PPG Aquarium.
“The Just Ducky tour was awesome. It took us on land on in the water and Tyler got to drive the boat,” Jennifer said.
Prior to leaving for the wish, Jennifer said they started a John Cena countdown calendar and marked off each day before the wish.
“He knew the day was coming and was just absolutely excited. That’s all he talked about everyday,” she said.
Jennifer said upon meeting John Cena, Tyler was a bit star struck.
“When Tyler first saw him he was speechless and a bit stunned,” she said. “He was definitely on cloud nine.”
Tyler made a scrapbook for John Cena and John gave Tyler various signed items including a shirt and hat. Jennifer said they sat together for about 20 minutes and took plenty of pictures.
“He had the time of his life. The best part for me was just seeing the look on Tyler’s face when he got to see John Cena and knowing that his wish was granted,” said Jennifer. “I just want to thank anyone who participated and helped make his wish come true.”
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make Tyler’s wish extra special: Ancient Order of Hibernians, Pastor Joyce Lawson, Western Reserve Building & Construction Trades, Austintown Professional Fire Fighters IAFF 3356, St. Mary’s Women’s Guild, Rotary Club of Austintown, IBEW Local 64, FOE 3298, WWE and John Cena, Spaghetti Warehouse, Senator John Heinz History Center, Buca di Beppo, Just Ducky Tours, Omni William Penn, Hard Rock Café, Mellon Arena, Pittsburg Zoo
Kids Wish Network is a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children. Kids Wish Network is especially proud of their “Guardian Angel Fund”, which uses 100% of its contributions to support the wish granting program. If you know a child between the ages of 3 and 18 who may be in need of wish granting services, or would like to contribute to a child’s wish, please call 727-937-3600 or toll free 888-918-9004. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit their website at www.kidswishnetwork.org