Everyone at the Cristian Rivera Foundation would like to express our condolences to the family of Caitlin Downing, who earned her wings on Sunday November 11 surrounded by family and embraced in the loving arms of her parents. Caitlin not only fought bravely in her battle against DIPG but she was a pioneer in the DIPG community as she became the first patient in Dr. Mark Souweidane’s clinical trial in May of this year. Caitlin was a beautiful girl who loved to smile, go to school and put bows in her hair, her mother Denise wrote on her website. Caitlin and Denise were guests of honor at this year’s Fourth Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala, where they shared their story about Caitlin’s surgery and subsequent struggle. Caitlin was an inspiration to us all and our thoughts and prayers go out to her entire family.
Everyone at the Cristian Rivera Foundation would like to express our condolences to the family of Valentina Bravin, a beautiful 5-year-old girl who earned her wings this past Thursday, July 12th after battling DIPG for almost 1 year. From the moment of her diagnosis, her parents Eric and Christina never gave up hope, and with the help of Valentina’s grandfather, they started the Friends of Valentina foundation to raise money for medical expenses. Friends of Valentina was able to hold a few fundraisers on Valentina’s behalf last fall, raising thousands of dollars to greatly ease the family’s financial burden. Valentina was a student at St. Luke’s nursery school in Farmingdale, NY, and was an avid lover of ballet, ice skating, and Barbie dolls. Known to the world for being a fighter, Valentina brought hope to lots of people, including John “Gungie” Rivera, the founder of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, who featured Valentina as a Child With Hope at the 3rd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Gala last September. Rest in Peace, Valentina. We will never forget your beautiful spirit.