The wrestling world lost one of the toughest superstars to ever step foot into a WWE ring. On January 8, 2017 at approximately 10:00pmPST, 9 year old Elijah Mainville was relieved of the unbearable pain caused by cancer, as he passed away peacefully at home, in the arms of his beloved mother.
The WWE Universe may remember Elijah better by his WWE alias "Drax Shadow." In case you've forgotten, or perhaps you're not too familiar with who Elijah is, he was the young man who submitted a Tough Enough audition video via YouTube, back in 2015.
That video went viral and was seen by Triple H, who then brought Elijah and his family to a Raw taping in San Jose, where he was then brought into the ring and signed an honorary WWE Superstar contract. Since that night, Stephanie and Triple H have remained in close contact with Elijah and his family.
In fact, the family has been special guests of the WWE power couple at number of events since that night in San Jose .
Elijah was born on May 10, 2007. In late 2010, he was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer found mostly in children, typically under the age of 5. This former of cancer affects the kidneys, stomach, chest, pelvis and bones.
At any point, the disease can spread significantly, and in a relatively short amount of time too.
Elijah fought this deadly disease for over six years before the cancer finally grew to levels that could not longer be treated. The tumors spread so rapidly and in such massive number, that they could not even be counted. There were also tumors that grew in his skull and face, which caused disfigurement.
The pain this child was dealing with was beyond anything that most of us will ever face. Yet through it all, Elijah stood strong and fought until the very end.
Elijah and his family are huge WWE fans. They've always watched wrestling together, as a family. It was the one common passion in which they all shared. They each have their own favorite WWE Superstars as well.
Elijah's father is named Ronnie. Ronnie likes a number of wrestlers from the past and present. He's a big fan of the legendary "Hands of Stone" Rugged Ronnie Garvin. One of his favorite superstars of today, is Neville. Elijah's mom, Melody, is a huge Roman Reigns fan, and his elder brother, Cayden, is the biggest John Cena fan in northern California.
Finally, Elijah had his own personal favorite, which was Stardust. When Cody left the WWE, Elijah was absolutely devastated. However, Cody would remain in close contact with Elijah, even after leaving the WWE. Cody has also been very instrumental in making sure his colleagues are aware of who Elijah was, his story, as well as providing them with links to Go Fund Me information regarding funds being raised for his funeral.
After hearing of Elijah's passing, Cody took to twitter with these very heartfelt words..."2007-2017 Thank-you Elijah. You taught me bravery. I know there's a certain cowboy waiting for you in the sky..." Codys wife, Brandi also tweeted the following: "Heaven has acquired another sweet little angel in Elijah. Forever in our hearts...Drax Shadow."
It's also worth noting that several WWE Superstars used social media as a platform to submit their love and farewell wishes. One of the very first to do so was Stephanie McMahon. Others including Viktor from The Ascension, as well as quite a few others, have offered kind words to the family as well.
When Elijah was brought to the Raw taping, something about him seemed to change. He went from a kid with a very grim prognosis, to an honorary WWE Superstar and with that, Elijah felt a new sense of worth and purpose.
He now felt not only that he wanted to live, but he felt obligated to do so. For a child who had been through so much anguish and suffering for the vast majority of his young life, he had suddenly forgotten about his pain, forgotten about what the doctors said, as well as everything else associated with this monstrosity known as cancer.
Elijah was alive, very much alive and for once, he was experiencing the happiness that every child his age should enjoy. This was all due to the unselfish acts of kindness brought forth by the men and women of the WWE.
This is truly the reason why we call them 'Superstars.'
For those who criticize the current "kid-friendly" PG Era, I ask you to pause for a moment and think of people like Elijah and Connor.
These two brave souls loved the WWE and they were able to enjoy the programming with their families, thanks in part to the manner of product.
Elijah only graced this earth with his presence for a little over nine years, but in that nine years, he was able to leave an imprint on the hearts of so many who followed his story.
Elijah was brought into our lives thanks to professional wrestling, via the vehicle known as WWE. Throughout his final months he was alive, WWE Superstars and staff embraced Elijah and made him feel like he belonged with them...because he did.
The WWE gets critiqued at every turn. Some complain about who the current champions are, some don't agree with the story writing, or why this person is getting pushed while that person is being buried and so forth.
Wrestling fans are extremely critical of their product, which I understand completely.
In fact, I'm often guilty of screaming at my television set on Monday nights as well. However, in spite of all of the things we may feel they've gotten wrong, the one thing that they have certainly gotten completely right, is their tremendous connection with the kids.
As we are seeing through kids such as Elijah, they are changing lives, inspiring people and spreading a message of goodwill and hope, all around the globe.
We are left with heavy hearts with the passing of Elijah Mainville. I can still see the huge smile on his face when Triple H told him he was coming to Raw as his personal guest.
He was such a wonderful spirited kid; one who embodied everything that is perfectly right with the WWE. And through Elijah, the rest of the world was able to witness the magic of the WWE first hand.
I commend Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Cody Rhodes and all the other Superstars who came into Elijah's life and gave him renewed purpose. Their efforts, I firmly believe, not only extended Elijah's life, but also increased its quality and for that, there's no price one can place on what they've done.
Elijah may be gone physically, but his beautiful spirit will always be with us. In closing, our sincerest sympathies go out to Elijah's family, as well as everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
R.I.P. Drax Shadow...
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