In the foundation's decades-long history, no celebrity has come even close to granting as many wishes as John Cena.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 15, 2023. It has since been updated.
John Cena is the proud holder of a Guinness World Record. The 45-year-old professional wrestler set the record for granting 650 wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In the foundation's decades-long history, no celebrity has come even close to granting as many wishes as Cena, reports The Hollywood Reporter. After granting 500 wishes in 2015, Cena spoke about how much he enjoys giving back to society. "I just drop everything," Cena said at the time. "If I can offer a fantastic experience, I’ll be first in line to do my part." Cena has been granting wishes since 2002 when he began his career as a professional wrestler.
"Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses," the Make-A-Wish Foundation's mission statement reads, adding that "wishes are more than just a nice thing. And they are far more than gifts or singular events in time. Just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments."
When asked about his continued efforts to grant the wishes of children, Cena said: "I want them to have an experience that will stay with them forever. I don’t ever want the children or their families to be treated in a way where they feel as if they're up against anything at all."
.@JohnCena meets Misha, a teen who fled Ukraine after his home was destroyed.— WWE (@WWE) June 7, 2022
To motivate Misha on their journey to safety, his mother told him they were on their way to find Cena. pic.twitter.com/0Aeab4GkPZ
Tim Tebow, Michael Jordan, Miley Cyrus, Dwayne Johnson and Lady Gaga are some active participants of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. However, Cena is the most requested celebrity and said he will always continue to fulfill these children's dreams. "If you ever need me for this, I don't care what I'm doing; I will drop what I'm doing and be involved because I think that's the coolest thing," Cena said in 2019. According to ESPN, parents of children with health-related issues frequently write to Cena to thank him for changing their child's perspective on their medical state.
John Cena now holds the Guinness World Record for granting the most wishes through Make-A-Wish with 650 pic.twitter.com/9jcqIuE0Us— AuxGod (@AuxGod_) September 24, 2022
"Those are always difficult to read," Cena said. "But at the same time, the strength of the parents in sending me a message about how much the time that I spent with their child meant to them, it's very special."
David Williams, then CEO of Make-A-Wish, said that the organization is grateful for Cena's time and effort. "He's an entertainer, but he's a fighter," Williams said. "Ultimately, these kids are fighting; they're just fighting a different kind of battle. That's what resonates so much with these kids." Cena has also donated six million airline miles to the foundation to help cover airfare for families and said that he aims to grant at least 1,000 wishes, if not more.
Cena follows a WWE tradition of granting wishes. The organization has granted more than 6,000 wishes to meet WWE superstars or attend live shows. It started in the early 1980s with Hulk Hogan being the most requested.
"There is no more humbling experience than a child who could ask for anything in the world asking to meet me," Cena said, after granting his 500th wish. "I have faced some of the toughest superstars in WWE history, and I've never encountered more bravery or toughness than I see in each wish kid that I meet. It is inspiring to see the impact that granting wishes can have, and I look forward to granting 500 more."