Online effort to help 6-year-old fighting brain cancer meet WWE star succeeds

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PITTSBURGH - A Shaler Township 6-year-old who is battling brain cancer hoped an online effort would help get him a chance to meet his personal hero, WWE star Daniel Bryan, and in just 48 hours his wish came true.

Hundreds of people joined a Facebook group titled "Help Connor meet Daniel Bryan" just hours after the group was created earlier this week, and the numbers continue to climb.

Connor Michalek is battling medulloblastoma, cancer of the brain and spine. Connor's mother, Brittany Caligiuri, said her son was diagnosed in September 2009 at age 3. After his diagnosis, Caligiuri said her son underwent brain surgery, several other intensive surgeries, nine full rounds of chemotherapy and six full weeks of full spine and brain radiation.

Caligiuri said Connor then got posterior fossa syndrome from a tumor resection surgery, which in turn forced him to have to learn how to smile, lift his head, talk and walk again.  

After six weeks of inpatient therapy at the Children's Institute and then continued outpatient therapy, Caligiuri said her son's cancer was stable until May 2011 when an MRI showed that the cancer returned to young Connor's spine.

Connor's mom said his options are now limited because he's exceeded his lifetime amount of radiation to the brain and spine and he can't have surgery. Caligiuri said Connor's doctors gave him close to a 0 percent chance of surviving. Connor started a clinical trial of chemotherapy and has been undergoing treatments since May 2011.

Caligiuri said Bryan is Connor's hero, and it would bring so much joy to his life to meet him.

"Daniel Bryan is [Connor's] absolute favorite. He thinks he is so funny and loves his catch phrase and wrestling moves. He would be ecstatic to meet him. No matter how sick Connor is feeling, he refuses to miss an episode of 'Raw' or 'Smackdown,'" Caligiuri said.

Connor will be attending the WWE Raw event at Consol Energy Center on Dec. 18.  After word of Connor's wish spread, several people stepped in to help.

Morning radio show host, Bubba Snider of Star 100.7,  who too wrestles made a phone call to Vince McMahon's attorney and Pittsburgh native Jerry McDevitt.

Snider spoke to McDevitt who contacted McMahon about Connor personally. McMahon - the chairman of the WWE- told McDevitt that he will make sure that Connor gets the chance to meet Bryan, even if he has to take him backstage himself.