Make-A-Wish Kid Films Heartwarming Thank You to John Cena

Giovanni Hamilton met his idol in Fresno, California, last month.

ByABC News
July 15, 2015, 2:41 PM
Giovanni Hamilton, 7, meets his idol, WWE star John Cena.
Giovanni Hamilton, 7, meets his idol, WWE star John Cena.
Courtesy Shannon Algarin

— -- A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy living with a genetic disorder that has left him wheelchair-bound hopes a YouTube video he made to thank WWE star John Cena will reach his idol.

Giovanni Hamilton, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, got to meet Cena during a trip to California at the end of March, arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The trip was life-changing for Giovanni, who was born with Schawrtz-Jampel syndrome, a rare genetic disease characterized by abnormalities of the skeletal muscle. Giovanni, according to his mom, has been a fan of Cena’s since the age of 3 and adopted the wrestler’s “Never Give Up” slogan as his own to get him through multiple surgeries and doctor appointments.

“Giovanni brought a list of about 10 questions, like a little reporter,” Giovanni’s mom, Shannon Algarin, told ABC News of the meeting. “He was very nervous and as soon as John walked in, and you could see the excitement in John’s face, the nervousness melted away. He bloomed.”

“One of the questions that Giovanni had for John is he wanted to know if John had ever had any surgeries,” Algarin said. “John said he’d had five and Giovanni said, ‘Well I’ve had six.’”

“John said back to him, ‘I knew you were tougher than me,’” Algarin recalled. “That was such a big deal.”

Giovanni and his family spent nearly 30 minutes one-on-one with Cena and then got to watch the star tape an episode of “Smackdown.” When Cena came back into the ring for a match for the live audience, he was wearing a “Team Giovanni” t-shirt that the family sells to raise money for Giovanni's favorite charities.

“When Giovanni got back to me, he was crying and I thought he was having some kind of pain and I just thought, ‘Not now. Please let him be a kid tonight,’” Algarin said. “He just looked at me and said, ‘Momma, I’m just so happy.’”

When Giovanni returned home with his family, he told his mom he wanted to make a video to thank Cena for the life-changing meeting.

“I want to know that John knows how grateful I am,” Algarin said Giovanni told her, while also asking, “Will you be able to get it to John?”

Giovanni prepared a list of questions for his mom to ask him while on camera and Algarin posted the video on her Facebook page.

“Thank you for taking the time to meet me,” Giovanni says near the end of the nearly one-minute video, while ending it with Cena’s signature catchphrase, “You can’t see me.”

The video was posted to YouTube by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where it has nearly 10,000 views.

Algarin hopes one of those views is from Cena.

“I know John does this all the time,” she said of the Make-A-Wish visits. “But he was so down to earth and so good with Giovanni. It was incredible.”

“Giovanni is telling everyone he’s not going to give up because John wouldn’t want him to,” Algarin continued. “I really hope that John Cena knows the impact he has on these kids.”