Dreams do come true

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It’s not often you get to meet your idol, especially on the trip of a lifetime.

Denis Francis from Pictou Landing First Nation had the chance to meet his favourite wrestler, John Cena, on his Children’s Wish once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Orleans for WrestleMania.

As Wish foundations from different countries teamed up at the event, there were big things planned for the Wish kids and their families.

Denis relays the trip’s agenda: As they arrived in New Orleans Denis, his mother Deanna Francis and his aunt and godmother, Ann Francis-Muise made their way to Bourbon Street to check out the Mardi Gras celebrations.

The next day, the Wish Foundation had big plans for the kids as they went to a Dave & Busters restaurant — which is also an arcade — and they had a meet and greet with many of the wrestlers.

“I played one arcade game with a wrestler; we played air hockey and I beat him 7 to 2,” smiled Denis.

The next day was the rookie fights as well as a look through Access, a wrestling memorabilia display. The kids and their families made their way to a workshop where Mardi Gras floats are made and they had a chance to take part in their own mini Mardi Gras parade in smaller floats. At the end of the parade, the little floats dropped them off to get lunch. This was attended by a few wrestlers as well as Dana Warrior, wife of wrestler The Ultimate Warrior.

“And then John Cena came out,” smiled Denis. “I was surprised. I didn’t know he was going to be there.”

Denis got an autographed hat and a drawstring bag to hold things in, and the wrestlers made their way around to the tables to greet the special Wish guests.

For Denis, there was one huge highlight of the trip.

“Probably where I got to get a selfie with John Cena.”

Denis also received a WrestleMania certificate with his name on it. The kids then had a chance to travel in a full-sized Mardi Gras float with the wrestlers and participate in the main Mardi Gras parade.

The day after that thrill was WrestleMania and all the kids and their families made their way to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“I was really excited but I think my mom was more excited,” laughed Denis.

The three enjoyed the day and were very excited to have the chance to be there in person. Sitting in his living room at home, Denis showed off the memorabilia he received while he was there, including his certificate, a mini wrestling belt, a T-shirt and a First Nations flag that some of the wrestlers he met signed.