News & Press

Local Charity Raises $10,000 for Cancer Research with Charity Performance of
Award-Winning Musical!

 

Local Charity Raises $10,000 for Cancer Research with Charity Performance of Award-Winning Musical! March 23, 2012—New York, NY—New York-based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) The Cristian Rivera Foundation raised $10,000 for a pioneering cancer trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering on Thursday, March 22 with a one-night-only charity performance of award-winning bilingual musical DC-7, The Roberto Clemente Story at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre.or more information on the Cristian Rivera Foundation, visit cristianriverafoundation.org

The Cristian Rivera Foundation Raises $10,000
with Successful Theater Event

 

The Cristian Rivera Foundation hosted a successful charity performance of award-winning bilingual musical DC-7, The Roberto Clemente Story on Thursday, March 22. The event, which included a two-hour red carpet event catered by Celebrity Chef and Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Alex Garcia, the executive chef at Babalu Restaurant and Lounge in the Bronx, raised $10,000 toward Dr. Mark Souweidane’s pioneering clinical trials aimed at finding a cure for DIPG. Dr. Souweidane attended the performance and as he accepted the check live on stage from Cristian Rivera Foundation founder John “Gungie” Rivera and all of the committee members in attendance, he announced that his team is within weeks of treating the first patient. Among the night’s high-profile attendees were The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Danielle Staub and Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Members sportscaster and humanitarian Roberto Clemente Jr., founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Miriam Colon, businessman Elis Pacheco, founder and president of Metropolitan Recording Corporation Jerry Salerno, DJ Tedsmooth, music producer Aldo Marin, Red Entertainment Group founder Carlos Keyes, businessman Jeff Lavino, David Letterman Show staffer Karen Cerna, real estate agent Fulvia Lora, Bronx Base Builders founder William Padilla, information technology manager Steve Cox, X-Interactive Media founder Carlos Colon, philanthropist Dolores Catania.

Bilingual Musical to Host Charity Performance Benefiting the Cristian Rivera Foundation

On Thursday, March 22, DC-7 The Roberto Clemente Story will be hosting a special charity performance to benefit The Cristian Rivera Foundation. Cristian Rivera Foundation Founder John “Gungie” Rivera and Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Members Ralph Mercado III and Miriam Colon are associate producers of the play, which is produced by Teatro SEA’s Manuel Moran.

The play stars Modesto Lacen as Roberto Clemente, the first Hispanic ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clemente was not only a baseball MVP but also a humanitarian and civil rights activist who died 40 years ago when his plane crashed on the way to helping earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Two of Clemente’s sons have raved about Lacen’s award-winning performance, as well as the entire production, which won six ACE awards including Best Musical.

“For this generation who never got to know my father, Modesto Lacen does a great job portraying him,” said Luis Roberto Clemente. “He resembles him a lot and with his singing especially, he gives an amazing performance.” Older brother Roberto Clemente Jr. added, “I have seen the show five times now and the whole cast does a wonderful job, but especially Modesto Lacen. I believe that he has truly transformed into my father, no doubt about it.”

Tickets for this special performance are $67.50


The performance begins at 8pm and will be preceded by red carpet arrivals and a cocktail reception from 6pm to 8pm with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member and Celebrity Chef Alex Garcia and Babalu Restaurant and Lounge in the Bronx.
For more information please call 212-779-2222.

Remembering Nathan Andrew Waggoner

 

Nathan, born August 18th, 1992 was a positive spirit, even after his diagnosis on May 8th, 2008 at the age of 16. He loved his job at an Omaha local Sporting Goods store where he was always around equipment for the sports he loved. He enjoyed boating, fishing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and kayaking. It was March 19th, 2010 when Nathan became an angel. Our thoughts are with his parents Jeff and Monica and his brother Nicholas always. Rest in peace, angel. Keep smiling.

Mesenchymal Transition and PDGFRA Amplification/Mutation Are Key Distinct Oncogenic Events in Pediatric
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas

“Two distinct transcriptional subclasses of DIPG with specific genomic alterations can be defined at diagnosis by oligodendroglial differentiation or mesenchymal transition, respectively…..Patients in this later group had a significantly worse outcome with an hazard ratio for early deaths, ie before 10 months, 8 fold greater that the ones in the other. The worse outcome of patients with the oligodendroglial type of tumors was confirmed on a series of 55 paraffin-embedded biopsy samples at diagnosis (median overall survival of 7.73 versus 12.37 months.”

Free Full Text- http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0030313
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Mesenchymal Transition and PDGFRA Amplification/Mutation Are Key Distinct Oncogenic Events in Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30313. Epub 2012 Feb 28.Puget S, Philippe C, Bax DA, Job B, Varlet P, Junier MP, Andreiuolo F, Carvalho D, Reis R, Guerrini-Rousseau L, Roujeau T, Dessen P, Richon C, Lazar V, Le Teuff G, Sainte-Rose C, Geoerger B, Vassal G, Jones C, Grill J.

Source
Department of Neurosurgery, Necker-Sick Children Hospital, University Paris V Descartes, Paris, France.

Abstract
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is one of the most frequent malignant pediatric brain tumor and its prognosis is universaly fatal. No significant improvement has been made in last thirty years over the standard treatment with radiotherapy. To address the paucity of understanding of DIPGs, we have carried out integrated molecular profiling of a large series of samples obtained with stereotactic biopsy at diagnosis. While chromosomal imbalances did not distinguish DIPG and supratentorial tumors on CGHarrays, gene expression profiling revealed clear differences between them, with brainstem gliomas resembling midline/thalamic tumours, indicating a closely-related origin. Two distinct subgroups of DIPG were identified. The first subgroup displayed mesenchymal and pro-angiogenic characteristics, with stem cell markers enrichment consistent with the possibility to grow tumor stem cells from these biopsies. The other subgroup displayed oligodendroglial features, and appeared largely driven by PDGFRA, in particular through amplification and/or novel missense mutations in the extracellular domain. Patients in this later group had a significantly worse outcome with an hazard ratio for early deaths, ie before 10 months, 8 fold greater that the ones in the other subgroup (p = 0.041, Cox regression model). The worse outcome of patients with the oligodendroglial type of tumors was confirmed on a series of 55 paraffin-embedded biopsy samples at diagnosis (median OS of 7.73 versus 12.37 months, p = 0.045, log-rank test). Two distinct transcriptional subclasses of DIPG with specific genomic alterations can be defined at diagnosis by oligodendroglial differentiation or mesenchymal transition, respectively. Classifying these tumors by signal transduction pathway activation and by mutation in pathway member genes may be particularily valuable for the development of targeted therapies.

Collaborating to Cure DIPG

 

DIPG Dad Juan Manuel Viu flew to the U.S. from Spain once again to meet with fellow DIPG Dad, John “Gungie” Rivera at The Cristian Rivera Foundation offices in New York last night.  Dr. Jaume Mora, of Spain’s Hospital Sant Joan de Deu flew into Boston earlier in the week to speak with Dr. Mark Kieran of the Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  The next stop on his trip included a meeting in New York with Dr. Mark Souweidane of Wiell Cornell and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After speaking with both doctors about recent advancement in DIPG research plans, Dr. Mora met with John “Gungie” Rivera and Juan Manuel Viu at the CRF offices. From there, they enjoyed dinner at Babalu Restaurant in the Bronx to discuss upcoming collaboration to cure DIPG.

Remembering Hope Fuller

 

The Cristian Rivera Foundation remembers DIPG Angel, Hope Fuller who earned her wings on March 10th, 2010 after being diagnosed on July 29th 2009. Hope had a true humanitarian spirit and tried to help everyone in any way she could. From lemonade stands for a homeless woman in her neighborhood and for her school, a car wash for her uncle’s business and donating her hair to Locks of Love, Hope had a huge heart and extended it to help others.  Not only was she extremely intelligent and earned straight As, but she was also very talented in the art of theater, playing the lead of Mulan in a school production.  We aspire to mirror Hope’s compassion and consideration, as she inspires us to do well for everyone around us. Our thoughts are with her family today. Rest in Peaceful Harmony, beautiful angel.

The Cristian Rivera Foundation
Remembers Ralph Mercado

 

On Sunday, January 25th 2009, I lost my son Cristian to Pontine Glioma, a rare form of brain cancer that has no cure. On Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 I experienced another painful loss. I lost my partner, my mentor, my friend, my brother and my second father: Ralph Mercado. He was the only person in my life who could truly wear all those different hats. Ralph was more than an inspiration. He made an immeasurable impact when he was alive, and has continued to do so long after he passed away.

Ralph was the reason I decided to pursue a career in the Latin entertainment business. He provided me with the inspiration I had been seeking. With Ralph, I co-produced seven successful years of tropical music concerts at Madison Square Garden. It was because of Ralph that I decided to open up my own music label, Prestigio Recordings/Sony Discos. He advised me against it, but I didn’t listen. To date, it was the worst investment I have ever made. I should have listened. There were people who were scared of Ralph. They had this perception that he was this impenetrable force to be reckoned with. He was, but I also knew the other side of Ralph. I saw what others didn’t. He was caring and he had a gentle soul. He would always call me to set up meetings for one reason or another, and most of the time we would just end up drinking wine and talking about life. We would never really cover any ground on what the meeting had initially been about, but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed every minute of it and learned so much about love, life and business from our conversations. There was no better teacher I could have had than the self-made impresario of Latin music who I had the great privilege of calling my friend.

I can close my eyes and go back to December 2008 when Ralph had been released from the hospital for a short while. I remember going to visit him and was so amazed at he reacted when he saw me. When Ralph saw me, he smiled and requested that I take off my coat. All he kept asking about was the baby (my son Cristian), who was in very bad condition at that time. That was the kind of man he was. Even while he was lying sick in bed, he would still think of others. He was the kind of man who always showed me love and inspired me every day. I am blessed and privileged to have had him in my life. That day, before I left, I kissed and embraced him. He was my family; my partner. Words cannot begin to describe the impact that he had on my life. I feel so happy that I was able to share that day with him and see him smile before he passed.

It has been three years since Ralph passed away and I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. I can still feel the pain that the news of losing such an important person in my life brought me. He is always in my thoughts and remains a part of everything I do as I continually try to pay tribute to him and keep his memory alive. Together we will never stop working to fulfill the legacy his father left behind. It eases my pain a bit to know that my son is with someone I hold so close to my heart. I am sure Ralph is in Heaven discussing the production of Thomas the Train events with Cristian. I know their legacies will continue to live on here on Earth, in Heaven and in all of our hearts.

Fairfield woman cuts hair to raise awareness
for disease, honor fallen son

Randy Hill a barber at J’s Barber Shop in Suisun City puts the finishing touches on Danah Jewett of Fairfield, California who has the words Cure and DIPG shaved into the back of her had on Thursday, March 8, 2012 to raise awareness into DIPG, a rare non-operable brain tumor that took the life of her son, Dylan in January of 2009, less than two-months after he was diagnosed. Joel Rosenbaum/jrosenbaum@thereporter.com

Weary of grieving, a young Fairfield mom who lost a son to brain stem cancer three years ago took a bold step Thursday in her journey toward healing — she shaved her head.

And embedded two important words on the newly buzzed canvas — CURE DIPG.

“As fun as all this is, it’s really about the kids. Remembering Dylan and honoring the kids,” emphasized Danah Jewett, 34, as she fingered her spiky new do compliments of Randy Hill at J’s Barber Shop off Sunset Avenue in Suisun City. Touched by her cause, Hill donated his services.

Jewett’s son, 5-year-old Dylan, died of the rare and inoperable Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) in 2009 just two months after his diagnosis.

Randy Hill a barber at J’s Barber Shop in Suisun City shaves the words “Cure” and “DIPG” into the hair of Danah Jewett of Fairfield on Thursday. Her son, Dylan, died of the rare brain tumor in January of 2009, less than two-months after he was diagnosed. (Joel Rosenbaum/JRosenbaum@TheReporter.com)

Not much is known about the condition, so the family donated Dylan’s brain tumor to Stanford University School of Medicine for further research. His cells were the first living specimen of DIPG in the world and resulted in significant discoveries, including the cell of origin. By understanding which cell causes the tumor, Jewett said, scientists can further understand the disease.

Dylan’s mom hopes to bring more awareness of the disease, as well as of the courageousness of all children who are living with cancer.

“My job, as Dylan’s mother, is to make sure his memory lives on, raise awareness about this deadly cancer and tell others about DIPG, and hope that funding will somehow become available,” she said. “Children are dying and there is a way to make it stop.” Still coming to terms with her own loss, Jewett sponsored the inaugural “Dylan’s Warriors Prayer Walk” in Vacaville’s Lagoon Valley Park last September. A sequel is planned for this September, complete with run/walk T-shirts and giveaways of gold and gray ribbons representing childhood cancer and brain cancer. Details will be revealed by June or July.

In recent months, Jewett’s heart has remained heavy. Her family, which includes husband John, who is stationed at Travis Air Force Base, and a son, 4-year-old Jayden, encouraged her to do more for herself. So she did, literally using her head as a tool.

Visiting her hairstylist at “Twisted” in Fairfield, Jewett had her long brown locks separated into 56 braids. Friends and family donated $10 or more per braid for cancer research and, beginning on the anniversary of Dylan’s death, she began cutting one braid each day. Meanwhile, she also communed with her faith, delved deep into herself and prayed for renewal.

Randy Hill a barber at J’s Barber Shop in Suisun City shaves the words “Cure” and “DIPG” into the hair of Danah Jewett of Fairfield on Thursday. Her son, Dylan, died of the rare brain tumor in January of 2009, less than two-months after he was diagnosed. (Joel Rosenbaum/JRosenbaum@TheReporter.com)

“I wanted to seek an intimate relationship with God, just think of God and Dylan, what Dylan meant to me,” she explained. “I wanted a process for it, I wanted more than to shave it off and it’s over.”

By having “CURE DIPG” nearly carved into her head, Jewett said there’s no way that she won’t generate notice for the condition. Her braids had already caused a mild sensation — the new hairdo is likely to generate an explosion.

“This year is about Dylan, remembering him, honoring him, about DIPG and what it stole from us,” she said. “I want people to think about things, about kids with cancer. It’s just so amazing, what they go through.”

Even children have asked about DIPG, Jewett said, recalling a 9-year-old girl at church who was so inspired by Jewett’s hair that she gave her a $5 donation and pledged to do more to help.

Thus far, Jewett has raised about $400 for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for DIPG research and plans to donate her hair to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.

For more information, go online to www.curedipg5.com or www.facebook.com/curedipg.

www.thereporter.com/rss/ci_20137032?source=rss

BY KIMBERLY K. FU/ KFU@THEREPORTER.COM