BOWIE, Md. (October 29, 2014): Usually for 13-year-old Josh Whaley, boarding a plane means flying to another surgery to combat his life-threatening illness. But this time, thanks to children’s charity Kids Wish Network, the Bowie, Maryland, teen headed to the most exciting event of his life so far: his wish to meet WWE Superstar John Cena.
Josh has been a dedicated WWE fan for years; it is one thing that can distract him from his illness. Josh was diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome when he was only 1 years old. Crouzon’s is a genetic birth disorder characterized by the premature joining of certain bones in the skull during development. It affects the shape of the head and face and can cause a variety of development issues.
So far, Josh has suffered through 15 facial surgeries, each requiring flying to an out-of-state facility. Josh required a shunt after the first two surgeries and is monitored closely as the shunt could eventually cause another life-threatening disorder, spina bifida. The teen also suffers from bowel problems and a loss of hearing in one ear, and he faces more surgeries in the future.
Josh spends a lot of time indoors reading and playing video games. But he can be found awake late at night sneaking online videos of his favorite sport. He loves watching the matches and rooting for all of his favorite wrestlers. So for Josh, getting the chance to meet one of the Superstars was a dream come true.
Kids Wish Network sent Josh and his family on an exciting New York City experience where he got to meet Superstar John Cena before a WWE RAW event. While waiting for John Cena to make his appearance, Josh got to meet many other WWE Wrestlers and Divas as well.
“Josh’s eyes kept lighting up when another wrestler would turn the corner,” recalls mom Anjolene. “He kept correcting all of us on facts about each one.”
Once the main man arrived, Josh shook his hand and posed for photos. John Cena talked with Josh about wrestling and autographed some CenaNation items. Before he left, John Cena made Josh promise to cheer for him during the match.
“Josh had a really great time,” recalls his mother Anjolene. “He was so excited to meet all the wrestlers he sees on T.V. and get to see a live match.”
On behalf of Josh and the Whaley family, Kids Wish Network would like to thank all the generous sponsors that helped make his dream come true: WWE RAW, John Cena, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, and the Renaissance New York Times Square.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. If you know of a child who is suffering from a life-threatening illness or would like to sponsor a child’s wish, please visit www.kidswishnetwork.org or call toll-free (888) 818-9004.