The first CRF Newsletter of the new decade is here!!!Cristian Rivera Foundation2020 January Newsletter


January 2020 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation 2020
January Newsletter

Cheers to a new DECADE! Our foundation has been around since 2009 and have been leading the way in supporting DIPG families and finding a cure for this horrific tumor. Every single day for over 11 years, we’ve been creating ripple effects that have revealed more and more about the puzzle that is DIPG. We’re proud of how far we’ve come but hope it won’t take another decade for us to find treatment that would make DIPG curable for children everywhere. 

As we look back at our past year, we remember some of the successful events we held to fundraise against DIPG.

It all started on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week at a Runway Show by Taiwanese designer Sami Chen where all proceeds for the show went to CRF. Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin walked the runway alongside life-size robots!

In June, we held our 2nd Annual CRF Full Steam Ahead 5K Walk/Run with special words from Antoine Mason, the son of our Honorary Committee Member and longtime NBA player, the Late Anthony Mason. A portion of his speech along with other moments from the 5K can be viewed here .

We had our 4th Annual CRF Freestyle Flashback Boat Ride on the Hudson River which was hosted by our very own Carlos Yepez who also became one of our Board of Directors this year! Since Carlos stepped into his new role, he has been doing incredible things for our foundation and we are extremely lucky to have him take on a stronger leadership role on our foundation’s board. You can find video highlights of all the fun at this link

In September, we returned to NYFW with designer Sami Chen for another exciting runway show that benefitted CRF. Our founder’s daughter, Sophia Cristina Rivera, along with Andy Epstein’s (CRF Chairman of the Board) daughter Valentina, rocked some of Sami’s designs on the runway and the crowd absolutely loved it.

Finally, we held our 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala in November and had an incredible evening underneath the stars remembering our DIPG angels and fundraising for the DIPG children still with us now.

The best moments from the 11th annual gala are highlighted in our post gala video and the story about how we support DIPG families is featured here .

As much as we were able to celebrate in 2019, January is always a sad month for the Cristian Rivera Foundation. Cristian was diagnosed with DIPG on January 21st, 2007 and lost his battle to DIPG just two short years later, on January 25th, 2009.

Although we approach this month with some sadness, we also take on the new year with courage and determination. In honor of Cristian, we have an exciting year planned with the motivation to grow bigger than ever before and create substantial awareness for DIPG.

Our 3rd Annual CRF Full Steam Ahead 5K is coming up in May and it will be our biggest walk yet. We’ll also be continuing our annual Raffle Project which we’ve already started to sell. You can purchase raffle tickets online at the following link The 1st place raffle winner will receive 2 Premium Tickets to a NY Yankee Game (Valued at $500), 2nd place winner will get a $200 Dinner Gift Card to Calle Ocho, and the 3rd Place Winner will receive a $150 Dinner Gift Card to Thalassa Restaurant.

In the Summer we’ll be having our 5th Annual CRF Freestyle Flashback Boat Ride and will also be promoting the sequel to our founder’s children’s book “Cristian’s Journey”. We’re very excited to share it with you.

We’ve already booked our date for this year’s 12th Annual CRF Celebrity Gala on November 18th, 2020. Mark your calendars now!!!

Most importantly, we are elated to announce that 5 New Members have joined the Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Board. We’re happy to welcome Dr. Jacquie Smiles, Francesco Quattrone, Alberto Torres, Rena Kliot and Alex Arizmendi onto our life-saving team. You can get to know each of our new members by following and reading their bio by clicking on their headshot.

We’d like to personally introduce you to one of our new members,
Alex Arizmendi, as the Cristian Rivera Foundation Member of the Month.

Alex Arizmendi is a Bronx native, successful entrepreneur, and a Real Estate and Construction professional. He has been managing Real Estate for over 20 years and is well versed in all types of construction. Alex grew up in the Edenwald Projects of the Bronx and has risen to success from his humble roots through many years of hard work. In particular, he was able to start several businesses while maintaining a full-time career. Apart from his career, Alex’s heart and mission is to always help and give back to those in need. He embodies these values as a Master Mason and is also a proud contributor to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Dare2B, and now the Cristian Rivera Foundation. Alex is a business owner, car enthusiast, music lover and loves to travel the world. 

In response to his decision to become a CRF Committee Member, Alex said:

“It is an extreme honor to be associated with the Cristian Rivera Foundation. I have been a close friend of Cristian’s father John “Gungie” Rivera for many years and was only aware of DIPG for the years that I’ve seen John fighting for a cure.  Not having children, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, so I understand the importance of bringing awareness and finding a cure to this horrible disease. No parent should ever have to bury their child, with that we will continue to fight for a cure.”

We are excited to have Alex and our new committee members aboard and cannot wait to see what 2020 has to hold for us. Stay connected with us. Join us at our events, share our journey with your family and friends, and please make efforts to donate at the following link Happy 2020!

Follow Below to View:

Please Support Our Work 2019/20
Video Highlights of The
11th Annual
Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala
Video Highlights of The
4th Annual
Cristian Rivera Foundation Freestyle Flashback Boatride
Video Highlights of the
2nd Annual
Cristian Rivera Foundation
Full Steam Ahead 5K Walk/Run
Our MissionThe mission of the Cristian Rivera Foundation is to help find the cure for 

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable
and incurable brain stem tumor.

What is DIPG
(Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)?

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG, is a Rare, Inoperable Brain Stem Tumor that predominantly affects children between the ages of 2 and 10. Only 200-300 cases are discovered in the United States each year and because there is no cure, it’s young victims only have an average of 3-18 months to live, after they’ve been diagnosed. There are NO SURVIVORS.

Who is
The Cristian Rivera Foundation?

The Cristian Rivera Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization that works tirelessly, in order to raise awareness and funds to one day put a STOP to this disease. The Cristian Rivera Foundation funds the work of Dr. Mark Souweidane of Weill Cornell Medical Center – Memorial Sloane (Kettering) Cancer Center and Dr. Oren Becher of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Lurie Cancer center at Northwestern University. Both Doctors are conducting promising research and trials that have shown promising results. We are CLOSE to a CURE!

How Can You Help:
  • Help us by making a Donation.
  • Every Donation Big or Small, will help us achieve our goal.
  • Help spread the word to your family, friends and Colleagues.
Thank You again and may this be the year we say goodbye to DIPG,
(Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma),
Available Now
Cristian´s Journey
A Story Inspired by John “Gungie” Rivera, “Forever Cristian´s Daddy”
Cristian's Journey

Written by John “Gungie” Rivera

Available on our website

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.

The Cristian Rivera Foundation

John “Gungie” Rivera
Founder of The Cristian Rivera Foundation
“Forever Cristian’s Daddy”

Chairman of the Board:
Andy Epstein

Board of Directors:
Carlos Yepez and Darlene Rodriguez.

Committee Members:
Aldo Marin, Alex Arizmendi, Alex Garcia,
Carlos Colon,Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling,
Ed Martin, Elis Pacheco, Fernando Ferrer,
Francesco Quattrone, Jarrad Seuferling,
Jesse Allison, Kenan Thompson, Louie Vega,
Luis Guzman, Meiling Macias Toro,
Paul Pristavec, Rafael Toro, Ramon E. Javier,
Rena Kliot, Steve Cox, and Vito Bruno.

 Committee Friends:
Alberto Torres, Ben Velazquez,
Dr. Manuel A. Moran, Edward Caban,
Maggie Meehan, Mark Rosner, Modesto Lacen,
Pablo Diaz, Robert Dominguez, Vanessa Rodriguez
and William Pla.

 Honorary Committee Members:
The Late Anthony Mason
and The Late Miriam Colon.

David Rodriguez
and Karla De Epstein


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Copyright © 2020 Cristian Rivera Foundation, All rights reserved.  

Our mailing address is:
Cristian Rivera Foundation PO Box 656. Edgewater, NJ 07020

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