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John Cena is never shy about using his celebrity status as an actor and a WWE Superstar to positively impact his fans' lives. On June 5, he did just that when he visited a 19-year-old with Down Syndrome after he and his mother bravely escaped the war in Ukraine.
In a video shared by both Cena and the WWE, the Superstar traveled to Amsterdam to meet Misha Rohozhyn. He and his family were forced to flee their home city of Mariupol in Ukraine after the Russian invasion made it unsafe.
Their journey was profiled in "The Wall Street Journal," which outlined his mother’s incredible story of determination to not only get her family to a safe place but to do so while caring for a child who cannot speak nor fully comprehend the degree of danger they faced. In order to motivate him to keep going as they made vital and risky moves through combat areas, Misha’s mother told him that all of their efforts were to meet his hero, Cena, once they arrived at their destination.
Once they successfully made their way to Amsterdam, the outlet reports that Misha was disoriented by the new environment and frustrated with his mother that Cena was not waiting for them once they arrived. However, what neither of them knew was that Cena had indeed seen the "Wall Street Journal"’s coverage and was not about to let their story of heroism and bravery go unrewarded.
“When I read about Misha's story, it reached out to me,” Cena says in the video. “Not just Misha’s story but the story of Misha’s mom as well. It happened three days off from work, right at the time when I read this story and being an hour away by air, it turned immediately into, ‘We’re going' and that means spending an afternoon building blocks and eating cake. That’s a special afternoon when it comes to the new friends I was able to meet.”
In the video, Cena arrives at the home where Misha and his family are staying and immediately gets to work brightening the teen’s day. Not only does he chat with him and hug him, Cena literally gives him the shirt off his back along with his hat and a WWE belt. He also granted his request to say hello to fellow WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss.
“Misha’s ability to embrace persistence, that’s extraordinary. Those words ‘never give up,’ we’ve all thought about those in our life,” Cena says. “They’ve very powerful. I think Misha is a great example, and Misha's mom, they’re a great example of how persistence can lead to joy even in the toughest of times.”
Cena spent the entire day with Misha and his family. Before leaving, he gave everyone a big hug and shared some words of encouragement with the brave young man whose fandom motivated him to follow his mother through an extremely perilous time.
“This was a wonderful adventure in which I got to meet a wonderful new friend,” he told Misha through a translator. “Thank you for giving me strength.”
Cena, who has done hundreds of similar visits through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, concluded the video by noting how humbled he was by the experience.
“How special is today?” he says. “Yeah, pretty darn special.”
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