John Cena may not be the first name that comes to your head when you think of athlete. Most people don’t consider WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, as a sport. Despite working in the WWE for nearly 20 years and acting in many movies, his impact can be felt outside the four-sided ring.
Cena has accomplished everything in the WWE and will go down as one of the best wrestlers the company has ever seen. A 16-time world champion and multi-time headliner of WrestleMania, the company’s biggest and most profitable pay-per-view, Cena is in the “GOAT” conversation in WWE. His brash and good-guy persona has made him arguably the most popular wrestler ever, at times putting the entire company on his shoulders. More recently, Cena has taken on a part-time role with WWE to focus on other business ventures.
In 2015, Cena was named the second-most charitable athlete in the world by DoSomething.org, behind only former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. But Cena’s efforts against bullying and cancer started way before that. His work with Make-A-Wish Foundation is unheard of among celebrities. As of December 2018, he had granted 580 wishes, meeting children battling cancer and other neurological illnesses. He was the first celebrity to grant 300 wishes and the 580 granted wishes is the most by anyone.
After breaking into the WWE scene as a rapping, sort of thug character, Cena changed his character in 2005. He cleaned up the character’s image to be a better role model to the millions of kids who chanted his name every night. That switch helped Cena become the most requested celebrity by the children involved in Make-A-Wish. He spoke positivity and never resorted to underhand or dirty tactics.
Cena recently said he understands he’s in the “definite twilight” of his WWE career. Whenever he does to eventually decide to hang up the jean shorts and baggy t-shirt, he will continue to change kid’s lives around the world, one wish at a time.