Nickelodeon’s golden child Kenan Thompson was recently named Saturday Night Live‘s longest-serving cast member, and in an exclusive interview with In Touch, the All That star revealed who his dream guest hosts would be. We can’t lie — these are some pretty solid choices!
“Lots of people. It would be cool if Eddie Murphy came back. I say that a lot, or like Denzel [Washington], Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise — any of those dudes that haven’t done it yet that you feel like they should have totally,” Kenan shared. When asked how he celebrated such a milestone, the Kenan & Kel alum candidly replied, “By working! That’s the biggest accomplishment of it all. It’s good to keep that in focus — that’s the whole point of it.”
In Touch caught up with Kenan at the 2017 Cristian Rivera Foundation Ninth Annual Celebrity Gala last week at Capitale in NYC — which according to a press release, “is dedicated to finding a cure for this disease so that no child or family suffers through the horrors of DIPG again. To date the organization has raised more than $850,000 to support the groundbreaking research of Dr. Mark Souweidane of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College and Dr. Oren Becher of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Lurie Cancer center at Northwestern University and to support children and their families while they face DIPG.”
Kenan is close with the organization’s founder, John “Gungie” Rivera — who unfortunately lost his son Cristian to the disease. “I’ve known John for years. We used to meet when he used to promote clubs and stuff like that and I knew his son, Cristian,” he stated. “We fell out of touch for awhile then I caught back up with him a few years ago and he told me what happened to Cristian and told me about the foundation and I’ve been involved since then — like, six or seven years ago.”
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One of New York City’s best-known music promoters of the ‘90s is having a throwback dance party — that doubles as a fundraiser for a cause near and dear to his heart.
Revelers who hop aboard the Circle Line on Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. for the second annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Freestyle Flashback Benefit Boatride will be treated to several hours of freestyle dance music courtesy of a live performance by singer Noel, along with DJ Tedsmooth, Big Paul and Rob Lo, with Alizay and Speedy of the Luis Jimenez Show serving as hosts.
But the real purpose of the evening is to raise money for the Cristian Rivera Foundation, a nonprofit that donates all monies raised to hospitals and foundations researching cures for DIPG, a deadly childhood cancer.
The foundation is named for Rivera’s son Cristian, who was diagnosed with DIPG in 2007 and died two years later at age 6. DIPG — diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma — is a rare form of brain cancer that affects less than 300 kids each year but has an extremely high mortality rate. Less than 1% of those diagnosed with the disease live five years after being diagnosed.
“Creating awareness and fundraising is very difficult,” says Rivera, who founded the Cristian Rivera Foundation in 2009 and has dedicated his life to the cause in memory of his son.
The concept of a fun-filled boat ride around Manhattan with live music was “a way to get 600 people to come to an event because of the entertainment,” Rivera adds.
“Once they are at the event I am able to educate them about DIPG while raising funds. By the end of the event a fair percentage of our attendees become supporters of the foundation, so it’s a win-win. Most of the attendees are people who used to attend my events or follow me when I was a DJ.”
“In the spring of 2018 we are going do the first annual walk,” Rivera says. “We also have three concerts in the works as well as various small cocktail receptions that are being produced by our board of directors, committee members, committee friends and our supporters.”
Rivera says the foundation’s efforts to raise money for research are beginning to pay off. “One of the patients in our trials, an 11-year old girl from Connecticut named Lisha Ayala, has had DIPG for almost five years. In the past four years there has been no activity in her tumor,” he says.
“I may be speaking prematurely, but my feeling is that she will be our first survivor. To my knowledge, there has been no one with DIPG that has lived this long.”
The Cristian Rivera Foundation Freestyle Flashback Benefit Boatride on Saturday, July 15, starts at 7 p.m. sharp on the Circle Line at Pier 83, W.42nd St. and Westside Highway. The event is from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
To purchase tickets or for more information, go to cristianriverafoundation.org
1st place Winner (4 Premium Tickets to a NY Yankee Game)
Ticket Number: 2764
(Raffle Sold By Gina Lisa)
2nd Place Winner (IPad)
Ticket Number: 4748
(Raffle Sold By Robert Cruz)
3rd Place Winner (Mountain Bike)
Ticket Number: 2429
(Raffle Sold by Chris Vargas)
Cristian Rivera Foundation would like to Thank all the people who participated.
“Full Steam Ahead”.