News & Press

It is with the HEAVIEST Heart that we acknowledge the Loss of CRF Committee Member and our Founders VERY DEAR Friend Miriam Colon

Left Picture: Miriam Colon Receives the NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS from then President Obama.
Right Picture: Miriam Colon with Her Husband and John Gungie Rivera


It is with the HEAVIEST Heart that we acknowledge the Loss of  CRF Committee Member and our Founders VERY DEAR Friend Miriam Colon who passed away March 3, 2017. Miriam was one of our VERY Active Committee Members and had been secretly battling Dementia. We are all SO SAD.

Cristian Rivera Foundation
January 2017 Newsletter


News and Insight into the Cristian Rivera Foundation


Cristian Rivera Foundation 2017
January Newsletter

January is always an sad month for The Cristian Rivera Foundation. First, Cristian was Diagnosed with DIPG January 21st, 2007 and Lost his Battle to DIPG January 25th 2009. Cristian would have been 14 years old had he’d been alive.


But this January we have something to be Happy about, it marks 4 years Lisha has had DIPG and is doing GREAT. Just a few weeks ago we learned that her latest MRI showed NO GROWTH. Lisha is living proof that we will find a cure for DIPG. The Cristian Rivera Foundation exists to fight until the day that being Diagnosed with DIPG is just a bump in the road and not a death sentence.


The Cristian Rivera Foundation is also very excited to announce that we have donated $140,000 Weill Cornell and Duke from the proceeds 8th Annual Celebrity Fundraising Gala which was on November 30th. We were thrilled with the Gala this year and are grateful to all our Board of Directors, Committee Members, Committee Friends, Sponsors, Advertisers and Supporters.  We worked so hard to make this the best event to date. 

If you couldn’t participate at the 8th Annual Celebrity Fundraising Gala, you can still help by making a donation.  All monetary contributions are tax-deductible. All support is appreciated and brings us one step closer to a CURE.

Here are 2 letters the Cristian Rivera Foundation received after this year’s Gala.

We are thrilled to introduce
2 New Committee Members.

Jarrad Seuferling

Jesse Allison


Vice President of MAS Security Associates, Jarrad Seuferling, has worked in the security and nightlife industry for over 20 years. He has brokered dozens of deals in the entertainment industry and is passionate about helping others. Uniting people to elevate businesses is one of his top priorities. Jarrad Seuferling is a proud husband and father of two.


Jesse was born and raised in Chicago Illinois and moved to the east coast 5 years ago to take over sales and marketing for Zylo Restaurant in the W hotel. She’s currently the Director of Business Development for Helena Floors, a project she co–developed with her partner Thomas.


“I’ve known John Rivera for as long as I’ve been in the security business. We’ve worked together on many occasions and always had a mutual respect for one another. I attended The Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Celebrity Fundraising Gala in 2015 & 2016 and saw firsthand, the dedication and amazing work the foundation does. I was amazed by the amount of support and love I felt in the room on both occasions. As a father of two, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to DIPG. I feel so compelled to utilize my influence to make a difference.”


“I wanted to be a part of this organization after attending the fundraising event in November 2016 and seeing how this horrible disease affected the Rivera Family. Having a small daughter, I cannot imagine losing a child to this disease. I applaud John and all his efforts to ensure this disease doesn’t take another little angel from the world. “

Happy Birthday To Our Committee Friends

Steven Rodas
January 13

Mark Rosner
January 15

Paul Pristavec
January 21
Remembering DIPG Angel Birthdays
Remembering DIPG Angel Anniversaries

The Cristian Rivera FoundationJohn “Gungie” Rivera
(Founder of The Cristian Rivera Foundation & “Forever Cristian’s Daddy”)Board of Directors of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Andy Epstein, Darlene Rodriguez and Craig Serra.Committee Members of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Aldo Marin, Alex Garcia, Carlos Colon, Carlos Yepez, Dennis Rodriguez,
Dr. Manuel A. Moran, Elis Pacheco, Fernando Ferrer, Jarrad Seuferling, Jesse Allison,
Kenan Thompson, Louie Vega, Luis Guzman, Meiling Macias Toro, Miriam Colon,
Nirav Patel, Robert Vazquez, Rafael Toro, Ramon E. Javier,
Steve Cox, Teddy “DJ Tedsmooth” Mendez, Tony Ferrara and Vito BrunoCommittee Friends of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Ben Velazquez, Edward Caban, Jerry Chaparro,
Mark Rosner, Modesto Lacen, Pablo Diaz, Paul Pristavec, Robert Dominguez,
Steven Rodas, Victor Martinez, and William Pla
Support the Cristian Rivera Foundation
by Purchasing a Cristian Rivera Foundation
Wristband or T–Shirt.

Follow Here to Purchase Your Own CRF Wristband or T–Shirt

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The Cristian Rivera Foundation
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Cristian´s Journey
A Story Inspired by John “Gungie” Rivera, “Forever Cristian´s Daddy”

Written by Robert Vazquez
Edited by Robert Dominguez
Illustrated by Bryan Vallejo
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100% of the proceeds from the purchase of
“Cristian´s Journey” will be donated to support
D.I.P.G. research and trials at
Weill Cornell Medical Center. Thank you for bringing us closer to a cure.

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Kenan Thompson on “Saturday Night Live”
in the age of Trump


Kenan Thompson has been a series regular on “Saturday Night Live” for over a decade now.

The comedian has myriad hilarious impersonations to his name since joining the show 14 seasons ago. His most memorable impressions include those of public figures such as Rev. Al Sharpton, Charles Barkley and Steve Harvey.

There have been few moments in recent years in which the talents of the “SNL” cast members were watched more closely than during the recent presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Week after week, viewers tuned in to the show for some much-needed comic relief, but it wasn’t all laughs behind the scenes, as Thompson explained to CBS News.

“It was interesting for us because, you know, we tried to play the middle and not play favorites or whatever. It was tough holding up the mirror to people who we actually do admire in the same facet, but we did have to be fair to both sides,” Thompson said.

He made the comments at a recent event for the Cristian Rivera Foundation, a group working to help find the cure for the Pontine Glioma brain stem tumor. Thompson, who is on the foundation’s board, spoke more about the election after presenting an award onstage.

“You know, I guess the outcome of the election wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, but we all respect democracy and are just going to go with the flow and keep doing what we do. I do think it’s funny Trump and Alec Baldwin keep going back and forth on Twitter.”

When asked which “SNL” sketch resonated most with him throughout the campaign, he quickly shared his response.

“Black Jeopardy. The sketch was an awesome representation of people’s personalities, which I think was why it went viral the way it did,” he said. “People kind of went, ‘Oh yeah, exactly,’ you know what I mean? Which I thought was awesome. We were holding up the mirror of the climate — as far as black people are concerned and also to those who voted for Trump.”

As far as the president-elect’s war of words with Baldwin, Thompson noted, “I don’t think there is much rationalizing Trump’s thoughts. He kind of just thinks and does what he wants to do. I do think it’s an interesting time we are living in where we can actually see the president of the United States literally arguing with someone on Twitter. It’s really crazy.”


Remembering Cristian Rivera Foundation
Honorary Committee Member
The Late & Great Anthony Mason
on what would have been his
50th Birthday


Today, December 14th, the Cristian Rivera Foundation would like to take a moment and wish our Honorary Committee Member, the Late and Great Anthony Mason a very Happy Birthday in Heaven.

Anthony Mason was an amazing committee member and was so dedicated to the foundation and to our mission of never to relenting in our fight until we find a cure for DIPG. Anthony Mason’s work ethic and dedication still resonates with  The Cristian Rivera Foundation, we have made remarkable progress in finding a cure because of Anthony’s vision.

“Being on the Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee means a lot to me,” Mason stated proudly. “I know what it’s like with my own kids and though you can never know what it’s like for someone to lose a child, I can only imagine since I know how I feel when my kids only get hurt. I want people to get involved and start doing the research to cure this disease because we as parents should not have to bury our children.”

Anthony Mason is a legend, and will forever be missed.

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Kenan Thompson on All That, Kenan & Kel and Using Fame For a Cause — Wetpaint Exclusive


While Kenan Thompson has spent the last 13 years making us laugh on SNL, many also know him as one of the original cast members of the Nickelodeon sketch-comedy classic All That.

Characters like Pierre Escargot, Superdude, and Miss Piddlin made kids of all ages burst into fits of laughter, eventually leading him and fellow cast member Kel Mitchell to their own show, Kenan & Kel.

Here, Kenan takes a stroll down memory lane back to his earliest of glory days.

Wetpaint: You’ve been doing sketch and improv seemingly your whole life. When did you know comedy was something you seriously wanted to pursue?

 Kenan Thompson: I didn’t take it seriously until I got on Nickelodeon and saw that it was a real business. Before that, I just wanted to be on TV because I liked watching TV as a kid, like Double Dare and stuff like that, as opposed to becoming a writer and crafting my own sitcom and having that whole business aspect of the whole thing. I was unaware of that whole process.

I guess I was just a young, fun-loving kid! Me and my older brother was always quoting Coming to America, Spies like Us, 48 Hours, and all those movies, just having fun amongst ourselves.

When I started acting, doing theater stuff at a young age I was always the comic relief type roles, so I knew I had a funny bone and could make groups of people laugh, but I didn’t really take it seriously until I started getting paid on a weekly basis, then I was like, “Oh, well, this could be a lifestyle [laughs].”

Do you keep in touch with your old All That cast mates?

Yeah, me and Josh [Server] have always been really close and me and Kel [Mitchell] are really close. We had a reunion with everybody else recently, and it was nice to see everybody I haven’t seen in some years. Me and Danny Tamberelli played the guitar, he’s teaching me the guitar all the time. So yeah, there’s a little pocket of friends that I still kick it with.

What was the dynamic between you and Kel like coming up as a comedy duo?

It was awesome, because we were that close in real life. We spent a lot of time together and our families are very, very similar, with the only difference being he’s from Chicago and me being from Atlanta. Both of our mothers are very short, strict women. We’re both very family-bonded and we recognized that the first day, and we just started kicking it from there.

How did you initially link up with The Cristian Rivera Foundation?

The organization is dedicated to finding a cure for a horrible, horrible disease. It’s a brain tumor kids are getting on their brain stem. The survival rate is very, very low. I knew Cristian, I know his father. His father used to actually host a couple of the clubs I used to go to. He was always really nice to me and I lost touch with him for some years and ran back into him and he told me what happened.

What made you decide to become a board member?

When I ran back into him he invited me to be on the board and I was like, ‘yeah, sure!’ Cancer is a close issue for me; I’ve lost a few family members to it. Just to hear that this particular disease is targeting children is a horrible thing. It seemed like a no-brainer, it’s not like I have to do much.You know, show up and try to raise awareness is the least I could do.

How important is it for celebs and those with a platform to support meaningful causes like this?

I think it’s of the utmost importance. What else are you going to use your platform for than what you’re already putting out into the world? If you can use it for some other kind of positive thing, it should be almost mandatory.

To learn more about the organization or to make a donation, please visit
The Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Louie Vega Nominated For Grammy Award 2017

Best Dance / Electronic Album – Starring…XXVIII
Released February 2016 on Vega Records

BillboardAnother opportunity to impact the dancefloors of the future”

i-D Magazine “A testament to Louie’s knowledge, ability and friendships in the world of music”

Resident Advisor One of dance music’s most important figures”

Mixmag “Few people in this game can truly be called a master, but Louie Vega is certainly one of them”

Louie Vega’s emblematic 2016 album Starring… XXVIII has been nominated for a Grammy in under the award for Best Dance / Electronic Album.

With a career that spans over 30 years, including heavyweight projects including Masters At Work, Elements Of Life and Nuyorican Soul, Vega’s Starring… is unbelievably his first solo album and features over twenty-five artists on twenty-eight different songs.

The esteemed group of collaborators on the album include Kendrick Lamar, Funkadelic & George Clinton, Jocelyn Brown, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Byron Stingily, Tony Mumrelle and Nick Monaco & Soul Clap and the collection spans the genres of afro, house, funk, latin, jazz, soul and gospel.

Vega previously was awarded a Grammy in 2006 for his remix of Curtis Mayfield Superfly and he was sampled by Kanye West this year in Fade. He explains of Starring…, “My inspirations came from various visits around the world and experiences in life. The album came together naturally, it was like planting a tree, each branch represented an artist, a sound, a groove. The entire process happened within a few years. The experience with the artists on the album was magical; they are all so talented and very unique and have their own special quality. This body of work is a masterpiece that will be party of my legacy.”

Purchase “Starring XXVII” at:

Kenan Thompson spills on ‘SNL’s best guest hosts



Kenan Thompson — who joined “Saturday Night Live” 13 years ago — told Page Six, “The best hosts have been Tom Hanks and Dave Chappelle.”

And, “It’s kind of scary to see how cool Tom Hanks is . . . He is such an icon and people-person at the same time. He gives me hope that if I ever become insanely successful, I can maintain who I am as a person.”

He says of fame on NBC, “I never had groupies . . . It’s not like I’m Usher or something . . . I do not respond well to random women grinding up on me on the dance floor. Marriage definitely showed me another way. It taught me to live for somebody else and not just myself.”

He’s currently using his celebrity to raise funds for the Cristian Rivera Foundation for pediatric cancer research.