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When You Wish Upon a Superstar
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The hype. The hysteria. The heroics.
The excitement of WrestleMania can't often be overstated, but it's important to remember that the WWE Superstars aren't only giving of themselves inside the ring.
On Friday evening, Michelle McCool, Rey Mysterio and Kane partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant 52 children their wish to meet a WWE Superstar.
"It feels amazing," McCool told WWE.com. "Anytime we can make a kid happy, especially a kid whose wish is to meet a Superstar, that's a great feeling."
That sentiment seems to touch all the Superstars, regardless of how towering or terrifying they may appear.
"I try to let them realize that the Big Red Machine has a soft side, too," said Kane, speaking about his Make-A-Wish experiences past and present.
It was that soft side that shone clearly as the three Superstars entered a downstairs room at the Buena Vista Palace hotel, not far from Disney World, where five of the 52 Wish kids and their families eagerly awaited a more private, small-scale meet-and-greet.
"I'm so happy right now," beamed Angel Avila, one of the Wish kids who traveled from California to attend. "I talked with Kane about all of his old matches and WrestleMania. I really hope he wins the 24-Man Battle Royal."
Also setting the awe-struck children at ease, Mysterio appeared to earn the lion's share of laughs despite the menacing, black brace he sported on his right arm due to a torn bicep injury.
"My favorite part of today was when Rey Mysterio signed my shirt," said Santiago Romero of New York City, proudly wearing his Master of the 619 T-shirt. "I can't wait to see WrestleMania and just everything there is about it."
After the session, the trio of Superstars stepped into a larger room holding nearly 50 Wish kids and their families. Awash in a sea of flashbulbs and smiles, McCool, Mysterio and Kane made their way to the head of the room, where they took photos with kids and signed autographs for more than an hour. Every child left the experience that afternoon with photos, autographs and a genuine look of excitement.
"[The reality] usually doesn't hit me until after I go back home," explained Mysterio. "I have kids, too, and I can relate. It's very, very hard, but at the same time, there's a happy side to it, too, because you get to see their smiles."