WWE fighter Roman Reigns is using the down-time presented by the current COVID-19 pandemic to rally for a cause that is close to his heart — raising money for kids battling blood cancer.
Reigns is a blood cancer survivor himself. The inked-up star announced in October 2018 that he would need to take a break from the WWE to undergo treatment for leukemia. In February 2019, the star fighter (whose real name is Joe Anoa’i) announced that he was in remission. Since his initial cancer announcement, he has used his platform to raise awareness and funds for blood cancer.Read More
You may know Reigns from his time with the WWE or recognize him from the recent Netflix comedy “The Wong Missy,” where the wrestler makes a quick and hilarious cameo. But off-camera, he dedicates a large chunk of his time to raising awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Reigns has made a point to continue reminding his fans how difficult it is to be battling cancer during such uncertain times.
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Blood cancer patients need our help more than ever. @LLSusa is dedicated to making sure that kids like Connor can get the lifesaving treatments they need. That is so important to me and why I support LLS. They provide assistance to patients and families when they need it most. Please help kids like Connor during this critical time by visiting LLS.org/donate.
Earlier this week, he posted a snap of himself with a fan and fellow survivor named Connor to raise awareness and funds for the organization.
“Blood cancer patients need our help more than ever. @LLSusa is dedicated to making sure that kids like Connor can get the lifesaving treatments they need,” Reigns wrote in the caption. “That is so important to me and why I support LLS. They provide assistance to patients and families when they need it most.”
According to the website Essentially Sports, Roman is “a proud carrier of the Polynesian culture and his many tattoos contain Hawaiian tribal patterns. According to the site, “Roman’s turtle on his wrist may be the most significant tattoo on his body. The Polynesian turtle, with a flower on his back, symbolizes his love for his daughter Jojo. The area on which the turtle is situated is also notable in this instance. Roman stated that his outer sleeve tattoo shows strength, masculinity, and protection. The tattoos are more like armor for him. The armor protects the turtle on his wrist, signifying him protecting his family and children.”
Reigns on Coping During COVID-19
Reigns has been affected by COVID-19 himself, and many fans initially suspected some recent career decisions were made due to his past with cancer and a compromised immune system. The star wrestler pulled out of a scheduled WWE match — Wrestlemania 36 — back in April. However, Reigns told TMZ that he decided to sit out the match because of his family — his wife recently gave birth to twins.
“A lot of people … they think that it was based off of my health and the history of my fight against leukemia. Talking to my doctors and stuff, I actually am fine and my immune system is good,” Reigns told TMZ. “The drugs that I take to fight the leukemia, they don’t attack your immune system.”
The wrestler told TMZ that he hopes to return to the ring soon — but for now, he’s in “daddy mode” and he’s playing it safe.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, where one cell begins to grow out of proportion, Dr. Nina Shah, a hematologist at at the University of California San Francisco, explained to SurvivorNet in a previous conversation about the different types of blood cancer.
There are essentially four types of leukemia. Acute leukemias tend to grow very quickly; chronic leukemias are slow-growing over the course of several years; lymphoid leukemias grow from the lymphoid cells, which produce antibodies to protect against viruses; and myeloid leukemias grow from myeloid cells, which are the body’s first defense against bacteria.
Dr. Nina Shah explains the different categories of blood cancer.
“There are four categories if I simplify it down,” Dr. Shah said. “And that’s the definition of leukemia. In these situations, your bone marrow becomes filled with these cells, and then, because it’s taking up so much space, causes you to have anemia or low blood counts, and doesn’t allow the rest of your blood to work properly to kill infections.”
Although leukemia is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in children, older adults are diagnosed with the disease the most often, according to the National Cancer Institute. More than 60,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. this year, and an estimated 23,000 will die.