Did you know nearly 14,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year? And did you know that only 4 percent of the government budget for cancer research benefits pediatric cancer research? That’s why we need everyone’s help to crush this wicked disease, especially during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
This month, Superstars gladly don specially created merchandise to raise awareness, along with funds, to support the fight. Connor “The Crusher” Michalek is as much part of this tag team from his angelic realm as any of his ring heroes. Connor departed this world far too soon, but the legacy he left behind serves as a call to arms. Our mission in the WWE Universe is to bodyslam pediatric cancer for the next legion of young Warriors in the fight of their lives.
This year’s campaign features Kid Superstars from the New Orleans area. Each child created their own Superstar character, and WWE created their own entrance music and graphics — just like their older counterparts on Raw, SmackDown LIVE and NXT. Each child revealed their personas live at WrestleMania Axxess! The pure electricity from the crowd gathered recalled Mardi Gras, and as Stephanie McMahon introduced each self-made Superstar persona, all in attendance erupted in cheers. Watching these battlers take their moment in the spotlight, one could sense the rise of a collective resolve.
My favorite story from WrestleMania was from that event — specifically about The Multi-Million Dollar Man, Allen Dedon. He was in a wheelchair, and WWE had come up with a way to make the backstage area and ring accessible for him for the Axxess Kid Superstar Reveal. Stephanie McMahon, Daniel Bryan, Asuka, AJ Styles and myself had all been prepared to jump in if he needed his help with his wheelchair. We were ready to assist!
Stephanie McMahon in her iconic voice, read his bio before he entered, riffing off the WWE Superstars in attendance: “Our final Kid Superstar is more phenomenal than AJ Styles, tougher than The Ultimate Warrior, and doesn’t have to wait until tomorrow — he could be an emperor today. Think he can beat pediatric cancer? YES! YES! YES!”
His music hit, and entrance graphics flashed on the ’tron. We expected a wheelchair. What met our eyes was a Superstar — the Multi-Million Dollar Man — walking. No wheelchair, no assistance needed. He had summoned his Warrior strength and walked down the ramp, into the ring with only a cane. We were all brought to tears at the sight of his courage and determination. The WWE Universe, not knowing the backstory, broke out in “This Is Awesome” chants. And indeed it was.
We in the WWE Universe, bound by our beaded Connor’s Cure bracelets, must redouble our pledge to see these children, and those around the globe, happy, healthy, and standing triumphantly over cancer.
WWE’s devotion to Connor’s Cure is a 365-day commitment highlighted throughout the year. From hospital visits to Kid Superstar Reveals to the support of fans every day of the year — just like you. WWE has raised nearly $2.5 million for pediatric cancer research.
Connor “The Crusher” is our muse within WWE, but there are’s millions of Warriors like him battling across the globe. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H through WWE, in partnership with The V Foundation, took on this fight with unparalleled passion. You can hear in their voices and see on their faces the emotion and ferocity with which they stare down the opponent called cancer. For Stephanie McMahon, it’s personal, and a year-round committed promise. I’ve seen Steph in private moments away from public view but never have I seen her without her Connor’s Cure bracelet around her wrist.
I believe there’s no more important promise to keep than one made to a child. I believe this oath is exponentially increased made to those who battled valiantly but cancer took too soon. I believe we owe the angels in heaven our solemn guarantee that their lives and fight mattered. I believe in Connor’s legacy and the power of his memory that we will pin cancer to the mat so all kids will live cancer free ... always!!!