Diego's dreams come true

Published: May. 24, 2019 at 5:04 PM EDT
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The Washington Redskins hosted 12-year-old Diego Hernandez and his family for a visit at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia, on Monday.

"He was very happy," Wendy Seekford, Diego's mother, said. "That's all he could talk about for the last few days was just meeting the Redskins."

Diego, who said he couldn't sleep the night before, met all of the players that participated in the team's OTA practice. He met his favorite player linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and the Redskins' first-round draft pick quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.

"We instantly wanted to do something to help," Carlyle Neyazi, senior director of Redskins Charitable Foundation, told WHSV. "We heard he's a huge Redskins fan. So it was kind of a done deal. We knew we were going to have him out at practice."

Diego and his family watched practice and received a personalized jersey and goodie bags.

"It melts my heart to know that he's inspiring someone else," Seekford said. "For him to be touching other people, and I just don't know if there are words to express how I feel."

"It's just awesome to see all of our Redskins players connect with Diego and his family as they're coming in. He's just such an inspiration," Neyazi said. "Not only to us but to our players and to our coaches. He's just such an inspiration. And the joy he continues to show today and in his life everyday is just very inspiring to all of us."

On July 20, the Waynesboro Moose Lodge will be holding a benefit ride for Diego.


On May 24, a dream of 12-year-old Diego Hernandez came true.

Diego lives in Staunton and has a terminal medical condition called craniosynostosis that affects skull and brain growth.

Since a stroke at the age of nine, he has had six major surgeries to try and lengthen his life, but doctors recently told his family that his condition is terminal and he won't be having more operations.

But he said he's feeling "good."

He's feeling even better now after getting to meet his idol.

On Monday, Diego

he's staying tough like his hero, John Cena. Once that story was posted, people across the nation were inspired by Diego, hoping his wish would come true.

A video posted by Cena's friend, John Burk, led to an outpouring of donations, with more than $6,000 raised for Diego's family. And then came more tweets, from celebrities and people from all walks of life across the country.

It all led up to Cena knocking on Diego's door on Friday morning.

"I know I'm early," Cena said when he walked in ahead of Diego's birthday coming up on June 1.

But that didn't seem to be too much of a problem, because Diego was all smiles, as was his entire family, and the community, who gathered outside to meet Cena after he spent an hour talking with Diego and giving him signed WWE gifts and party favors.

He gave him action figures, hats, wrist bands, and even his very own Universal Champion belt.

Diego wanted to meet John Cena, but John Cena told us he wanted to meet Diego even more.

"Never underestimate the power of kindness," Cena said. "He just has such a kind outlook on life and I think that's amazing. And that power of kindness brought me here today to him."

We asked Diego how it made him feel when Cena said Diego was his hero. "Happy," he said.

"For him to come here just to see my son is amazing and I definitely want to thank him and show a lot of love and let people know what a great man he is to come here, for one little boy's dreams to come true," said Wendy Seekford, Diego's mother.

Diego will celebrate his 13th birthday on June 1 — and he has another big dream he hopes will come true. He'd like to go to a Washington Redskins game.

You can find a photo slideshow of the meeting below, and a video of the meeting above. A video highlighting the timeline of Diego's dream, as well as an extended video showing much more of Diego's meeting with John Cena, will be added Friday evening, so stay tuned for more!

Diego's family has a GoFundMe where you can donate to support them


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