INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A local boy recently got to meet his hero, thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Brantley Burton, 4, of Piqua, along with his mother, Ashley Lee, and other family members went on a trip to Indianapolis this month to meet professional WWE wrestler John Cena at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“He was a little shy at first … He’s only four,” Lee said about Brantley meeting Cena. “He was just in complete awe.”
About Cena, Lee said, “He’s a very nice guy, very nice.”
Brantley was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), which is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. During the pregnancy, the left side of the heart does not form correctly. Brantley had to undergo three open heart surgeries within the first three years of his life.
Brantley talked about Batman shoes, Ninja Turtles, and peanut butter sandwiches with Cena after Brantley started opening up with him a little bit. Brantley also drew a picture to give to Cena.
“He was really cool about getting down to his level and communicating with him and getting to know him,” Lee said about Cena and Brantley.
After they got to meet Cena, they also sat front row at a WWE wrestling competition. They also went to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and got a special dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Brantley waited two and a half years to meet Cena through the Make a Wish Foundation. Lee was also grateful for the Make a Wish Foundation making it possible for Brantley to meet Cena and for Cena taking time to meet Brantley.
“I couldn’t do it myself. It was pretty cool to have help,” Lee said. “Everything we do is John Cena-related.”
Brantley is a mega-fan, having lots of Cena-themed merchandise, from clothing to even a special wrestling ring for him to play in at home.
“I just think it’s really cool because Brantley has been my hero … Then he got to meet his hero,” Lee said.
Lee explained that watching Brantley overcome so many obstacles in his life inspired her.
“He’s fought so hard, and someone took time out their day to just make his day happy. It was a pretty cool experience for sure.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336