Who hasn’t heard of Dwayne Johnson? The star was already famous among adults and children alike when he was ‘The Rock’ at the World Wrestling Federation. However, his standing with children grew even more when he played Maui, the shape shifting demigod in the popular Disney film Moana. Recently, Johnson happily channeled Maui to encourage a young child suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Playing the superhero is nothing new to international movie star Dwayne Johnson. He started his professional wrestling career in 1996, and in eight years as The Rock he became one of the greatest professional wrestlers and biggest draws of all time.
He shifted to acting in 2001 using his real name Dwayne Johnson, and has since become one of the world’s most successful and charismatic movie stars. He often directs some of his star power back to his fans and into charity work, and lately uplifted the spirits of a young fan battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a tune from Moana.
Hyrum Harris is three years old, and the youngest of seven children of Rich and April Harris of Woodstock, Georgia. Born with Down Syndrome, Hyrum has already been diagnosed with epilepsy, asthma, chronic croup, and Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, rare food allergy that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract that causes recurring or sometimes chronic — but often severe — vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition to these already severe medical issues, Hyrum was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in October 2019.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, the tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made. The disease progresses rapidly and creates immature, rather than mature, blood cells.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, and in children with Down Syndrome, there is a 30% chance of developing this kind of cancer. Hyrum, in particular, is expected to face three years of chemotherapy.
According to April, Hyrum continues to smile through these struggles and frequent stays in the hospital. The family has taught him the words “I Strong,” and these are words that he says confidently in the face of adversity.
Out of thousands of requests, Dwayne Johnson took the time to send a message of hope to Hyrum. In the video, he sang a few lines from “You’re Welcome” in Moana, and paid tribute to the boy on Instagram.
Hyrum’s parents were simply blown away by the actor’s kindness, and related that Hyrum “watched intently” as Dwayne Johnson sang. April said, “This has been such a moving experience for our family. [Johnson’s] response was beautiful. Every time Dwayne mentioned Hyrum’s name, Hyrum pointed to his chest and in his soft sweet voice repeated saying, ‘Hyrum,’ as though he knew this was special for him. When the reference of a head being compared to the size of a rock [came], Hyrum giggled. When he began to sing, Hyrum’s eyes got very wide.”
“He looked at me,” April added. “Smiled so big. Sang ‘You’re Welcome’ right along with the video. It was touching. Hyrum’s smile is infectious [and] healing to those that serve him and love him.”
The video and heartwarming messages from complete strangers have left an impact on the whole family. According to April, “We were all touched that night and continue to be astonished and amazed at the outpouring of love and support my little fighter is receiving. The prayers matter. They carry us through when our days are rough and our nights are too short.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to seek support for the family’s medical expenses. See The Rock’s heartwarming message to Hyrum below:
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