TODAY

TODAY   |  April 29, 2013

WWE’s John Cena surprises 8-year old boy

On World Wish Day, the anniversary of the first wish fulfilled by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, John Cena surprises 8-year old Nick Santillo, who was born with just half a heart.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 8-year-old nick santillo has been in and out of hospitals his entire life he was born with half a heart and it's been a tough, long road for he and his family. let's look at his story.

>> just days old, nick underwent his first open- heart surgery .

>> they gave him months to live without the surgeries. we prayed and prayed and prayed, and hoped for the best.

>> nick was born with a rare heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome . which means he lives with only half the chambers in his heart.

>> we three heart surgeries, one at six days old, one at five months old, one at a year.

>> it was very trying to watch your son -- experience that stuff.

>> at just eight years old, nick has been through a total of eight surgeries, most recently, a life-threatening scare last november.

>> i was coughing up blood and i had to take a needle and then they had to put it in my arm.

>> to figure out that he had an abnormal vein and it burst and full-blown blood was filling up the lung. i thought he would die. we didn't know what to do. he just wanted to know when we were going do get home. he's the strong one. we're the ones that do the worrying.

>> now after life-saving surgeries, nick leads an active life and works hard every day to overcome life-long complications.

>> it's hard, it's easier now than it was in the beginning. he has developed more, gotten stronger. you know, things are easier.

>> you just deal with it. keep turning and run. you fight.

>> wow. wow. nick is here along with his family. his dad mark, brother dominick and mom victoria. how much weight were you lifting there?

>> 50.

>> can we say thank you to you and your brother, we want to say a big, big thank you for the flowers. dad, how is he doing?

>> doing fantastic.

>> thank you for having us on.

>> we're thrilled to have you.

>> you guys clearly have such a strong family. what is it that keeps you guys going?

>> we're from jersey.

>> you know, keeping nicholas healthy. make sure he has a good life.

>> yeah.

>> gives you that purpose every morning.

>> and big brother a big help?

>> a huge help.

>> can you tell.

>> you guys like being on tv?

>> uh-huh.

>> what do you like about it?

>> i don't know.

>> well you know what, we'll give you something that will be kind of fun. today is world wish day and it's, this is i guess they make a wish is been around for long time. blue bunny is helping to grant 100 wishes and what did you wish for, nicholas?

>> to see john senor.

>> i think we may be able to make that happen.

>> i'm a huge fan. can i sit right next to you. can you hold on to this for a second? i just came in from poland to see you, this is your special day and i want to congratulate you and say it's world wish day and -- i heard you were a big fan of wwe. they said you were a fan of me, is that true?

>> uh-huh.

>> and you watch wwe all the time?

>> uh-huh.

>> have you been to "monday night raw"?

>> no.

>> never? what if we change that today. what about if you and your family be my guest tonight at "monday night raw"? sound like a deal?

>> yes!

>> tell them what your nickname is?

>> nick.

>> nick the stitch.

>> nick the stitch.

>> this is your wwe personality?

>> uh-huh.

>> tonight you're going to be a wwe superstar with me on "monday night raw" i want to thank you very much. i'm a huge fan and it will be awesome to have you there tonight.

>> can we come?

>> just one of the cool things that's possible with make-a-wish and today is world wish day, and what we're doing is trying to get as many frequent flyer miles to make wishes like nick's happen. go to wish.org/wwe i'm not just a spokesperson and i'm donating myself. donating up to 4.5 frequent flyer miles today to make wishes like this happen for the reason you just saw.

>> he can't stop looking at you.

>> thanks, guys.

>> have fun tonight, okay?