Six years ago, WWE star Stephanie McMahon met a little boy who led her to fight for pediatric cancer. She and a coworker recently spoke about the work they do.
In January 2014, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon met a boy named Connor Michalek, 8, backstage at the Royal Rumble in Pittsburgh. She still remembered the boy because she noticed he was sick.
McMahon revealed how Michalek was bald, had a scar on the back of his neck and a large lump on the front of his head. At the time, the little boy was at the Royal Rumble to watch his favorite wrestling stars.
The brand manager discovered that the boy had a medulloblastoma. The disease is a tumor that affects the spinal cord or brain Michalek did not have long to live because it was growing rapidly.
Speaking to “People” magazine, McMahon confessed that she couldn’t believe what she found out. She remembered looking at the boy, who was shadowboxing, and thought the doctors must have misdiagnosed.
The wrestling star ended up sharing a hug with Michalek and remembered it was one of the best she’s ever had. Upon returning home, she spoke to her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, about how they could help the little boy.
Some fans have claimed Roman Reigns lied and faked his diagnosis when he returned to the stage.
Levesque is WWE’s executive vice president of strategy and global talent development. Soon after, the sickly boy was invited to WrestleMania 30 where he had a front row seat.
After the Mercedes-Benz Superdome match, wrestler Daniel Bryan gave Michalek a ring and thanked the boy for being an inspiration. The interaction was observed by the thousands of spectators present.
Sadly, the little boy died three weeks later. Soon after, McMahon and her husband founded Connor’s Cure, a fund that supported pediatric research into brain and spinal cord cancer.
MCMAHON CANCER FUND
WWE’s brand director created the fund after finding out that the government was only using 4% of its money for childhood cancer research. This month, WWE hosted the Superstar Challenge where they encouraged fans to donate and managed to raise over $ 13,000.
Wrestlers also participated by spending time remotely with young cancer patients across the country amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is also participating.
Reigns can relate to children because in his early twenties he was diagnosed with leukemia. Just when he thought he had beaten the disease, the star was diagnosed again two years ago.
The star credited her family and friend’s faith with overcoming cancer. Based on his own experience, he feels it is important for young fans to get his support; confess:
“I really try to emphasize that we are all in the same boat, that they are not alone.”
The wrestler recognized how lonely children can sometimes feel. Especially in the midst of COVID-19 when hospital visits are very limited.
Reigns hoped that sharing her story would help the kids see someone who was in a similar situation and who was successful in beating their diagnosis. The star also works with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
– WWE (@WWE) Feb. 26, 2019
MONEY EARNED BY CONNOR’S CURE
Connor’s Cure has raised more than $ 3.5 million since its inception. The money was raised with the help of the Pittsburgh Foundation Children’s Hospital and the V Foundation.
McMahon admires Reigns for using his celebrity status to give back to those battling cancer. He liaises with WWE’s charitable programs and makes efforts to raise awareness about the disease.
Morning! In response to some of the tweets we see online at @WWE and @WWERomanReigns we wanted to have a little talk about leukemia / leukemia, relapse and cancer perceptions. #WWE @davemeltzerWON https://t.co/iIXgrBKKz3.A.THREAD! pic.twitter.com/thhKt17gTZ
– Leukemia care (@LeukaemiaCareUK) Feb. 26, 2019
REIGN IN REMISSION
Last February, Reigns revealed he was in remission after being away from television for four months. He has since returned to wrestling after taking a hiatus to deal with his diagnosis.
Some fans have claimed the star lied and faked her diagnosis when she returned to the stage. However, the wrestler was defended by Leukemia Care UK, a national blood cancer support charity.
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