Ida Grove boy's wish: Attend Wrestlemania 28

From left to right: WWE Diva Layla, WWE superstars Sheamus and John Cena, Andy Nollen, mother, Arlene Nollen; sister, Molly Nollen; and father, Jeff Nollen.
Photo provided by Arlene Nollen

Benjamin Petersen
Staff Reporter

For 14-year-old Andy Nollen, April 1 was a dream come true.  Nollen and his family were flown to Miami to attend “Wrestlemania 28,” the biggest professional wrestling show of the year.

The non-profit organization, Make-A-Wish, partnered with World Wrestling Entertainment and flew 40 kids and their families to the event.

“Going to Wrestlemania was awesome,” said Nollen. “I got to meet all of my favorite wrestlers and then see them wrestle the next day.”

Nollen and his family were flown out to Miami on Friday and were able to participate in a weekend full of fun events. On Saturday the family attended the Wreslemania Axxess, which was a day full of meet-and-greets and other activities.

“My favorite part of Axxess was meeting John Cena and Randy Orton,” said Nollen. “It was really fun and now my Facebook picture is [of] me and John Cena.” 

“It was really neat meeting all of the wrestlers in person,” said Molly, Nollen’s sister.  “I am not a huge wrestling fan but I still had a blast.”  

Axxess lasted all day on Saturday and allowed attendees to meet WWE Superstars Edge, John Cena, Randy Orton and Kelly Kelly.   Axxess also featured matches from other WWE stars in addition to the meet-and-greets.  

On Sunday, Nollen’s family was part of the 77,912 people who attended Wrestlemania, WWE’s the biggest show of the year.  The event was sold out and set a new attendance record for the Sun Life Stadium.  It also became the highest grossing event in WWE history, grossing $8.9 million.   

“Seeing Wrestlemania was a dream come true,” said Nollen.  “My favorite match was The Rock vs. John Cena.  It was even cooler because I had gotten to talk to them the day before.”

The event was also the most-viewed pay-per-view television show.  It was broadcast in more than 105 countries and in over 20 languages.  

“I loved seeing how happy Andy was at Wrestlemania,” said Arlene, Nollen’s mother. “With so many people there, we were pretty far from the ring and had to watch on the big screens mostly. But he had a blast.”

Arlene keeps friends and family updated on Nollen using Facebook.  The group “Praying for you Andy” has over 300 members.

“I kept people updated on the weekend through Facebook,” said Arlene.  “I posted so many photos the first day I killed my phones battery, and I still have more to upload.”

After the event, the family was able to meet some wrestlers backstage and say goodbye.  

“It was sad leaving, but I will never forget this weekend and want to thank Make-A-Wish for making it possible,” said Andy.


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Submitted by braunschweigc on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 19:15

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