Heartland Hospice serving South Central Pennsylvania patient, Giovann “Gio” Green, has the same motto as his WWE Idol, John Cena – “Never Give Up.”
Gio was five years old when he was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. This led to surgery, followed by physical and developmental challenges. This summer, 20 years after his original diagnosis, doctors confirmed that his cancer had returned, but this time with limited prognosis. Gio’s favorite thing to do is to watch WWE every week with his grandmother, especially when John Cena is on. Gio’s mother, LaShon, said that wrestling makes him happy and that she always wanted to take him to see a live show, but just never really made time.
“As soon as I heard about Giovann, his family and his story at a meeting, I knew Heartland needed to do something special for this young man!” said Christy Trump, Heartland Hospice Administrator. “In meeting Gio and his family at their home, it was obvious that, despite his life obstacles, he was surrounded by love, faith and gratefulness.”
Immediately, the Heartland team began to research WWE events and who to contact at the local and corporate levels. Each week, Heartland collaborated with Gio’s condition and any updates from their efforts. Finally, right before Christmas, after multiple attempts to the WWE, to John Cena’s representative, and a company-wide social media blitz, we received THE call. Heartland was able to secure tickets to the December 28th WWE Live Holiday event in Baltimore, MD and a personal meeting with John Cena. Heartland also arranged limousine transportation with Unique Limousine of York, Pennsylvania for Gio and his family.
Katey Scott, Hospice RN Case Manager, called to inform LaShon of the great news and the arrangements to get Gio to the WWE event. LaShon started crying in joy and disbelief. That night, she told Gio and captured his surprised reaction on video. Local media was alerted about Heartland helping make Gio’s Heart’s Desire come true, and he became a local celebrity with news stories, interviews and a front page article in the newspaper.
The day of the event, the limousine arrived at the Heartland Hospice agency, Christy and Katey rode over to Gio’s home to pick him and his family up in celebrity fashion. Gio and his mother had new matching WWE shirts, featuring wrestling icons which included John Cena. Upon arrival at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, everyone was greeted by the Baltimore News 2 reporters and cameras. From there, a WWE representative escorted everyone through a VIP entrance and into a private room.
As soon as John Cena walked into the private room, Gio’s face lit up! After greeting everyone in the room with handshakes, John Cena sat down beside Gio and began talking with him. He acknowledged Gio’s news article and his admiration to “Never Give Up.” John Cena presented Gio with a bag of wrestling memorabilia and signed everything for him. He gave Gio his undivided attention, talking, laughing and posing for pictures together. Gio had a permanent smile on his face the rest of the night during the event.
The main event came with a steel cage match with John Cena against Daniel Bryan. Although John Cena didn’t win back the Championship belt, he was a winner to Gio and his family. When everyone was back in the limousine to return home, Gio gave a thumbs up, smiled and said “It was good!”
This particular event would not be possible without the generosity of the WWE and Unique Limousine of York, PA and the dedication of the Heartland Hospice team to help make Gio’s Heart’s Desire come true.