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When you think of professional wrestlers in the WWE, the first thing that comes to mind may be less ‘caring and compassion’ and more ‘muscles and body slamming.’ In the case of WWE champ John Cena, he’s proven that wrestling can include all the adjectives.

Cena’s positive wrestling persona, and his slogan of ‘Never Give Up,’ has made him a fan favourite in the WWE. In addition to collecting several championship belts, Cena also holds the record for the most Make-A-Wish wishes granted by any celebrity, with 500 wishes and counting.

Recently, Cena was invited by Cricket Wireless to read messages of thanks sent by his fans. Sitting in a room alone, wearing a t-shirt bearing his ‘Never Give Up’ message and his trademark jean shorts, Cena becomes visibly emotional while reading the letters.

In the handwritten cards, fans thank Cena for inspiring them to continue pushing through difficult and dark times in their lives. One fan wrote that she was devastated to learn she couldn’t have children and found Cena’s words comforting while she was going through the process of adopting her first child. Another fan said that after a serious accident, doctors told him he would never walk again, let alone continue pursuing his dream of being a wrestler. Taking deep breaths while reading the cards out loud, Cena continued, with one fan telling him that by the time he was 19 he had lost both his parents, with Cena’s words helping him to find hope during his darkest days.

Eventually, Cena finished the cards and was asked to watch a small screen, where a young boy named Tyler told him that his mother had battled cancer. After receiving one of Cena’s ‘Never Give Up’ bracelets from the wrestler at a WWE event, Tyler gave the bracelet to his mother to wear during her chemo treatments. At the end of the video, Tyler broke through a paper wall, finally getting to speak with his idol. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, Cena embraced his young fan, who was joined by his now cancer-free mother.

But Tyler wasn’t the only fan to bring John (and us) to tears. All the fans who wrote the letters Cena read were also in attendance. “How often does someone get to tell their hero what they did for them?” said one fan. “It’s one of those extremely rare moments and I really appreciate that.”

Cena was also full of appreciation, continuing to inspire his fans with his words. “Just remember that you guys do the work,” said Cena. “I don’t want you to ever think that you’re the only one that goes up against it and don’t think that you’re the only one who has challenges to face every day. We all lead by example and I mean it when I saw never give up. This is a championship squad right here.”

Calling this “the coolest surprise ever,” Cena left his fans with a final message of inspiration. “This is a great moment. Some really, really heartfelt stuff,” said Cena. “It’s a reaffirming message of being mindful that your actions affect those close to you.”

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