WWE fan gets the ‘Smackdown’ in Motown

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 25, 2017

Keion Ackles, 14, who attends Smith Middle School, has been an avid fan of World Wrestling Entertainment for over nine years.

Keion was born prematurely at 3 pounds, 13 ounces. When he was 1, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder of muscle tone or posture that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

“He has about 100 wrestling action figures,” said his mother, Quiona Ackles.

Quiona is an Indiana native and an employee at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. She was searching online for resources for children with disabilities when she came across the Kids Wish Network about a year ago.

The Kids Wish Network “is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations,” states the group’s website. 

Quiona takes her son to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for his treatments, which have included Botox and surgery, followed by physical, occupational and speech therapies.

She said his most recent surgery was on Jan. 3 to stretch his muscles. Quiona, Keion and her youngest son, Keshaun, 9, then drove to Riley Hospital Jan. 20 to see if Keion’s casts could come off.

His mother said Keion did not use a wheelchair before his surgery, but he does have problems with his gait. She said her parents, Troy residents Andy and Paula Ackles, as well as Keshaun and daycare provider Monica Kiel, help her to care for Keion.

But the teen wasn’t thinking about his surgery last month. He was thinking about the Dec. 20 “WWE Smackdown Live” show at Joe Louis Arena that he and his family would attend.

“He was so ecstatic about it,” Quiona said.

Before the event, Keion and his family met WWE wrestlers Dean Ambrose and Nikki Bella.

“It was so much fun hanging with Keion,” said Ambrose in a prepared statement. “I admire what Kids Wish Network does, inspiring hope in these kids. I feel fortunate to be a part of it all.”

As part of Keion’s wish, the Ackles enjoyed a visit to the Michigan Science Center, stayed at Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney hotel, and had dinners provided by Hard Rock Café Detroit and Townhouse Detroit.

Quiona said there were other activities planned for the following day, but her son was too worn out.

“It means so much to our wish kids and their families to get a break from their illness when we are able to grant them such a wish,” Anna Lanzatella, executive director for the organization, said in a prepared statement. “We are so pleased to work with organizations like the WWE, who help to put smiles on the faces of these children facing unimaginable circumstances.”

“I never experienced anything like that,” Quiona said. “It was so amazing and appropriate for him. I want to give a big thank-you to the Kids Wish Network. They were awesome. He still talks about it.”

For more information about the Kids Wish Network, call (888) 918-9004 or visit kidswishnetwork.org.