John Cena might seem like an odd choice as Grand Marshal for [this past] Saturday’s Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure in D.C. But the professional wrestling superstar, who is arguably the most recognizable face currently in WWE, has become one of the biggest proponents of breast cancer awareness. When Cena isn’t grappling in the ring — and drawing equal number of cheers and jeers as a golden boy that some fans love and others love to hate — he is frequently found supporting charitable causes. Before he came to D.C., we chatted about how he got involved, with the Komen Foundation and going pink, how he keeps himself healthy and if his status with the fans ever affects his outside-the-ring endeavors.
How did you get involved with Susan G. Komen?
Believe it or not I got involved with Susan G. Komen because of my brother. He was diagnosed with a stage 3 tumor virtually out of the blue. The tumor was inoperable but because it was detected early he was able to manage it. He’s back to living a normal life. So when someone in my family had been closely affected by cancer I wanted to try and do what I could to help spread the message of early detection. And I looked at what all the other pro sports were doing with going pink and I sought out Susan G. Komen and said, listen the WWE wants to go pink and I think this will be an awesome relationship because we have such a large female audience. Forty percent of our audience is female. … It truly was a bold campaign. A 250-pound male being one of the lead spokespeople in the fight against breast cancer.
You mention 40 percent of viewership is female. That’s not a subset, that’s almost half of the audience.
It truly is. That’s only because WWE shifted over to a PG-rated platform in 2006 and our product is truly family entertainment. And when families comes to the events, families come to the events. You get a really nice split of race, creed, color, religion. It’s really a melting pot.