WWE inks multi-year commitment to Make-A-Wish; Cena honored
PHOENIX -- National and international media, along with WWE Superstar John Cena and Diva Lilian Garcia, gathered at US Airways Center's press lounge Tuesday to hear Make-A-Wish Foundation CEO David Williams' historic announcement -- that WWE and Make-A-Wish will be strengthening their 20-year relationship with a new, multi-year agreement.
"Support from WWE is very important in helping us provide magnificent wishes for families," Williams said, speaking of the impact WWE has had on children and families for two decades. "We are very proud to be associated with WWE, and hope that we will be working together for many years to come."
The groundbreaking parternship's first act will be WWE's biggest wish-granting event ever at WrestleMania XXIV. Fifty wishes will be granted during the course of the next five weeks, culminating in a star-filled experience hosted by WWE in Orlando, Fla., during the weekend of The Granddaddy of Them All.
The children will meet their favorite Superstars while participating in a weekend full of activities, including events at Universal Orlando Resort. The children will be inducted into the WWE Make-A-Wish "Circle of Champions" at the annual Bacon, Bagels and Biceps Brunch sponsored by the David Maus Foundation.
Actress and singer Raven-Symoné, star of That's So Raven, Cheetah Girls and the upcoming film College Road Trip, will help in grant wishes at WrestleMania. Symoné, 22, has granted 60 wishes to date.
Cena hits the century mark
WWE Superstar John Cena was honored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation for his contributions of granting 100 wishes to children since 2004. The former WWE Champion joins an elite celebrity group including NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant and NASCAR star Jeff Gordon.
"We'll have the real celebration when we hit 1,000," Cena said. "It's not about the people who grant the wishes. It's about the people who get the wishes. This award will definitely hold a place in my personal portfolio in very high regard."
According to Williams, Cena is on pace to be the biggest wish-granter in Make-A-Wish Foundation's illustrious history.
"One hundred wishes is a lot. We typically don't see that many celebrities grant that many wishes. It speaks to the popularity of WWE and the popularity of John Cena. When a milestone such as this is reached, we feel that it is important to acknowledge the person that's doing it," Williams said.
For his contributions, Cena was presented with a large plaque that contained pictures of some of the children he has granted wishes for. After being introduced, the three-time WWE Champion was at a loss for words.
"I just want people to realize the impact this charity has on society. Make-A-Wish makes people happy, and I'm just honored to be a part of that puzzle," Cena expressed.
Cena's sentiment was felt by Max La Caria, a 9-year-old Wish child who took part in the press conference. This was La Caria's first time meeting his favorite Superstar. When Cena introduced La Caria, the youngster's eyes filled with tears. Then, Cena told his young fan that he would be his special guest at WrestleMania XXIV.
"I was so excited that I didn't know what to say. I can't believe that I'm going to WrestleMania," La Caria revealed, tears of joy rolling down his face.
"The kids faces light up when they see John, but John's face lights up, too," said Lilian Garcia, who opened up the conference by welcoming media in English and Spanish. "It's completely amazing. I can tell this means a lot to him. With his schedule being so crazy and to meet so many kids in such a short timespan speaks volumes about John as a person."