Ukrainian Mom Tells Son With Down Syndrome They’re Fleeing To Meet John Cena, and It Really Happens

John Cena Wearing a Suit

Photo: PopularImages/Depositphotos

Misha is a Ukrainian teenager who has Down’s Syndrome and is also nonverbal. When his family was forced to flee the Russian invasion, the boy didn't understand why they had to leave their Mariupol home. To make him feel better, his mom told him they had to travel across Europe in order to meet John Cena. The pro-wrestler-turned-actor is a personal hero of Misha, and it comforted him as they crossed borders. It was one of those fibs that you’d never expect to come true—except that it really did.

In a viral video shared on Twitter, Cena surprises Misha with a special appearance at the home the family is staying at outside of Amsterdam. On a Saturday in early June, Cena gets out of the car and then walks up to Misha and gives him a big hug.

“When I read about Misha’s story, it reached out to me, not just Misha’s story, but the story of Misha’s mom,” Cena explains in the video. “Having three days off from work, right at the time I read this story, and being an hour away by air, it turned immediately into, ‘We’re going.’”

Cena spent the afternoon with the family, doing things like building blocks and enjoying a slice of cake. He even gave Misha a shirt, hat, and a giant WWE belt. “That’s a special afternoon when it comes to the new friends I was able to meet,” he shares. “[Misha and his mom] are two great examples of how persistence can lead to joy, even through the toughest of times.”

Once the afternoon was over, he had to leave the family—but not before telling him how much they inspire him. “This was a wonderful adventure in which I got to meet a wonderful new friend,” he says. “Thank you for giving me strength.”

Watch the heartwarming video below.

Actor John Cena surprised a Ukrainian teen who is non-verbal with Down's Syndrome at his new home in Amsterdam. Watch highlights from the sweet afternoon.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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