John Cena on Saturday met with Misha Rohozhyn, a 19-year-old fan with Down syndrome who was inspired by the pro wrestler as he and his family fled Ukraine amid Russian invasion.
Rohozhyn, who fled from Mariupol in March, met with the 45-year-old pro wrestler/actor in Huizen, Netherlands, where he and his relatives have sought refuge, according to Daily Mail.
Rohozhyn had posters of Cena in the Mariupol apartment his family lived in before Russian forces bombed the structure.
Rohozhyn's mother Liana said she helped her son brave the perilous move from Ukraine with a 'motivational fantasy' that the WWE superstar-turned-Hollywood action hero would be there to greet them at the end of their travels. The teen was upset that Cena was not present when they arrived in the Netherlands in May.Cena became aware of Rohozhyn after he was chronicled in a piece for The Wall Street Journal in May that explored the impact of war on people with disabilities.
“Having three days off from work right at the time I read the story, and being an hour away by air, it turned into "We’re going," and that means spending an afternoon building blocks, eating cake – that’s a special afternoon when it comes to new friends I was able to meet.'
“Misha, very nice to meet you, I've come a long way to see you,” Cena told him as he gave Rohozhyn and his mother a hug and presented him with a WWE belt, his shirt and cap, and an action figure.
Cena said of the visit: “Misha's ability to embrace persistence is extraordinary, those words, never give up ... they’re very powerful. I think Misha's a great example and Misha's mom, there’s two great examples about how persistence can lead to joy, even through the toughest of times.”
He continued: “This was a wonderful adventure in which I got to meet a wonderful new friend, thank you for giving me strength. How special is today? Yeah, pretty darn special.”