News & Press

Cristian Rivera Foundation Boat Ride around NYC on July 15 is child cancer fundraiser

Cristian Rivera

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.”

Rivera, who every fall also throws a massive fundraiser for the foundation in Manhattan that features celebrity guests from the entertainment and sports worlds, plans to use his connections and experience as a promoter to expand his fundraising efforts beyond the annual boat ride.

“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.”

John (Gungie) Rivera (right) with Cristian. (COURTESY OF JOHN RIVERA)

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


To Ready More, visit

The Cristian Rivera Foundation Raffle Winners!

1st place Winner (4 Premium Tickets to a NY Yankee Game)
Ticket Number: 2764
David Forde
(Raffle Sold By Gina Lisa)

2nd Place Winner (IPad)
Ticket Number: 4748
Tanya Barrero
(Raffle Sold By Robert Cruz)

3rd Place Winner (Mountain Bike)
Ticket Number: 2429
Jessica Vargas
(Raffle Sold by Chris Vargas)

Cristian Rivera Foundation would like to Thank all the people who participated.
“Full Steam Ahead”.

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
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Wristband or T–Shirt.

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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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