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Have you heard of World Wrestling Entertainment’s newest WWE Superstar, Drax Shadow? Standing at a mere four feet tall and weighing just over 50 pounds, this 8-year-old is a formidable force to be reckoned with—in fact, he’s already beaten cancer three times!
Recently, Elijah “Drax Shadow” Mainville, a patient at our hospital, was given the surprise of a lifetime when his WWE Superstar heroes Stephanie McMahon and Paul “Triple H” Levesque personally invited him to RAW in San Jose via a video call. Elijah was chosen from more than 11,000 video applicants to “Tough Enough” (a reality show search for the next WWE Superstar) to be crowned an honorary WWE Superstar.
This wouldn’t be the first time Elijah had the opportunity to meet his WWE heroes. Back in March, WWE organized Superstars for Hope, a month-long fundraising campaign leveraging the support of WWE’s loyal fan base around the world. Together, WWE and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation raised more than $281,000 for two worthy causes: Special Olympics and childhood cancer research at our hospital. Elijah and other patient families were invited to special WWE Wrestlemania 31 events at Levi’s Stadium. But before becoming Drax Shadow, Elijah had never before set foot in the ring.
“It is rare that we find a talent so intense, so special, so awesome, that we want to hire them from their application video alone,” Triple H said to a screaming stadium at RAW last Monday.
“And tonight, this incredibly special person is sitting right in the front row. He is 8-year-old Elijah Mainville!” McMahon continued. “But Elijah, in order to make it official, you’ve got to get into this ring and sign your WWE contract.”
Hand-in-hand with his favorite WWE Superstar Cody “Stardust” Rhodes, Elijah leapt from his seat and slid into the ring like a pro, while parents Melody and Ronnie cried tears of joy ringside. Thousands cheered his name as he signed his WWE contract, then belted Drax Shadow’s tagline, “Don’t fear the darkness, fear the shadow!”
“As a father, it’s the greatest day of your life to see the hope that WWE has given my son to press on more,” Ronnie said in a post-show interview.
“Stephanie McMahon brought tears to my eyes,” Melody added later. “It really feels like she understands and cares what my family and so many others are going through.”
But the most meaningful testimony came from Elijah himself. “It was amazing. I absolutely loved it,” he beamed. “It was the best day of my life!”