John Cena definitely comes across as a nice, regular guy — albeit one with talent, fame, and extraordinarily well-developed muscles. When he’s not bringing in box office dollars or appearing as a co-host on Today, the wrestler-turned-actor is out in the world making a difference with his good deeds.
Cena’s career accomplishments cannot be overlooked. The 45-year-old wrestler is still signed to WWE — and in fact has teased his in-ring return — and is considered to be one of the all-time best sports entertainers in history, with 16 WWE Championship reigns, tied with the legendary Ric Flair for the most title runs of all time. Cena celebrated 20 years with WWE in 2022, and a legacy that continues to keep on giving.
However, Cena didn’t set out to be a wrestler. He moved to California in 1998 to become a professional bodybuilder. About a year later, he decided to try his hand at wrestling and made his debut for Ultimate Pro Wrestling.
Cena has been a member of the WWE since 2001 and gained fame when he took on the persona of the Doctor of Thuganomics, a hip-hop gimmick initially inspired by, of all things, a Vanilla Ice Halloween costume. Eventually, he changed his persona the one he is best known for today, a clean-cut, All-American good guy hero.
Cena began his career as an actor in the 2006 film The Marine, which was produced by the WWE. In fact, his first several movies were WWE productions, but in 2015, he branched out into other productions, with appearances in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, as well as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Sisters, among other films. He also made his debut in the Fast and Furious franchise in 2019 as the brother of Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto.
On a personal front, Cena was involved in a very public long-term relationship with fellow wrestler Nikki Bella from 2012 to 2018. The couple split just weeks before their planned wedding, and in 2020, Cena married his girlfriend Shay Shariatzadeh, who he met while filming Playing with Fire in Vancouver, British Columbia.
These days, Cena is making news for a record he just broke that has nothing to do with the box office or the wrestling ring.
What Is The Make-A-Wish Foundation?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charitable organization founded in 1980 that is dedicated to making the wishes of critically ill children between the ages of 2 ½ to 18 come true.
The foundation was inspired by Christopher Greicius, a seven-year-old boy in Arizona who was being treated for leukemia. He wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. Tommy Austin, a U.S. Customs Officer, became aware of Christopher’s dream and worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to plan a day when the young boy could be a policeman.
Chris was given his own custom police uniform, sworn in as an honorary Public Safety patrolman, and flew in a police helicopter. Not long after, Christopher lost his battle with leukemia. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was inspired by him.
Today, the Make-A-Wish foundation operates 59 chapters in the United States and 50 other countries around the world. In order to be chosen for a wish, a critically ill child must be nominated by a doctor or nurse treating them, by a social worker working with the child, by their parents or guardians, by another member of the child’s family, or by the child themselves.
How John Cena Broke the Record for Most Wishes Granted by a Celebrity
John Cena has a heart of gold. As of June 2022, he has granted more than 650 Make-A-Wish requests for critically and terminally ill children — that’s more than double the amount of the next celebrity on Make-A-Wish’s list.
The WWE tweeted out this massive achievement, writing, “@JohnCena has granted more wishes via @MakeAWish than any other celebrity in history. #CenaMonth” Cena, for his part, spoke about how much the Make-A-Wish organization means to him in an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show earlier this year.
In the interview, he said, “The reason I love Make-A-Wish so much is because those are those families’ wishes. 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.”
He added that he is grateful for his ability to help the sick kids and their family and bring some positivity to their lives. “All those things considered, I love all that — I love that joy, I love that connection.”
Cena remains the most popular person requested for the fulfillment of Make-A-Wish requests. He granted his first wish in 2004, topping other celebrities who have granted at least 200 wishes, including fellow wrestler Hulk Hogan and NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.
John Cena Granted Another Kind of Wish for a Ukrainian Teen
As the war in the Ukraine rages on, one family had their journey made easier with a little help from professional good guy John Cena.
Misha Rohozhyn is a 19-year-old Ukrainian with Down Syndrome. He and his mother needed to flee the besieged city of Mariupol, but Misha was terrified at the prospect of making the dangerous trip from the war zone to the Netherlands.
His mother Lianna, took some inspiration from her son’s room, which, before it was destroyed by Russian bombs, was covered with posters of Cena. She concocted a motivational fantasy to give her son the bravery he needed for the trip, telling him his hero John Cena would be waiting for them at the end of their journey out of Ukraine.
When Misha and his mother arrived in the Netherlands in May, he was disappointed and angry that Cena wasn’t there to greet him. Then, Cena heard about Misha and his story through an article in the Wall Street Journal about Ukrainians seeking shelter in a refugee center for people with disabilities, including Down syndrome and autism. John Cena being John Cena, he got on a plane to the Netherlands to meet the teenager.
The Rohozhyn family is currently in temporary housing outside of Amsterdam. When Cena arrived, he hugged Misha and presented him with a WWE belt and other memorabilia from his storied wrestling career. Cena also played building blocks with Misha and other refugee children and ate traditional Ukrainian honey cake with them.