Circle of Champions: Wish-granting with John Cena in Wilkes-Barre

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August 30, 2008

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. --  Despite his recent herniated disk injury, John Cena made dreams come true for Make-A-Wish's Cody McClellan, of Louisville, Ky., James Gravelee, of Kalispell, Mont., and Circle of Champs honoree Matthew Sarna, of Mountain Top, Pa., in a plush VIP suite at Wilkes-Barre's Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza. PHOTOS

"John Cena is my role model," said Cody, 10. "I hope to be like him. He's never negative. He does and says some really funny stuff on television, too."

James, 16, has been a fan of the former WWE champion ever since Cena arrived to WWE. Every time he watches Raw, he jumps out of his seat with excitement. For Matthew, 5, his dream came true via some help from the Pennsylvania State Police Department. After hearing of Matt's story and knowing of the kindergartener's love for WWE and John Cena, the department requested the special meet and greet.

When Cena arrived to the VIP suite, he autographed photos, T-shirts, including James' stuffed teddy bear, Cody's Cena T-shirt, caps, his "You Can't See Me" CD, posed for pictures with Matthew, Cody, James and their families, and presented his Chain Gang Soldiers with wristbands, headbands and his Hustle, Loyalty, Respect T-shirt.

The former three-time champion was impressed with the many homemade posters made by the True Champs, especially James' "WWE & Make-A-Wish Tag Team Champs" sign. Cena's injury was the outcome of a high impact Batista Bomb he received at SummerSlam. However, Cena, one of Circle of Champions honorees biggest fans, would not allow his anything stop him form meeting the True Champs. (Watch footage of Cena's injury at SummerSlam)

"The reason why I keep doing all I can for organizations like Make-A-Wish is because of the joy I'm able to provide the kids; it's about them. It's the utmost form of flattery. At the same time, if that's the part I can do for charity, I'll keep doing it," explained Cena. "It's not about padding any statistics or anything like that. It's about gearing these kids up for a great night of having fun and preparing them for the WWE experience. They were awesome."

Although Cena was their favorite, the Circle of Champions honorees also received a visit from Cryme Tyme, who were "flossin" Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase's World Tag Team Championship titles. The self-styled "candle guys" posed with the True Champs and let them hold the gold. However, it was Cena who left the three fans still in awe of their special meeting.

"He's so big. I've been waiting for this moment as long as I can remember. It still hasn't sunk in yet. I almost cried when I saw him. I couldn't believe it was him hugging me," James recalled. "And I hope that Cena gets the World Heavyweight Championship soon."

"Well, if he doesn't get the title back, I can just give him mine," Cody added with a huge smile, as he held up his replica WWE Championship.

The Sarnas were elated to have been able to experience this special moment, and be there with Matthew as he watched Raw live for the first time.

"It just means so much to our family. We are so thankful for WWE and Make-A-Wish to touch our families like this. This is one of the first times in the last year that we've had a family moment that we can enjoy together. It's just so amazing that they did this for us … It's beyond words."

David, Matthew's father continued, "Matthew is my hero. He never complains. Every day he asks if it's Monday or Friday night. He's totally thrilled to be here." 

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