Carlos Colon has been a valuable and dedicated board member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation for many years. He was the recipient of the Service and Dedication award at the 7th Annual CRF Celebrity Gala in 2015 and is now a husband and father to three kids. They are 2, 5, and 9 years old. Carlos is also a software engineer manager and enjoys working with his company to empower others to achieve their full potential. Carlos has lots of hobbies and passions as an individual. He enjoys cooking photography and most recently, woodworking. Carlos was also a DJ for many years and still enjoys mixing music for fun. He is a busy man, but has many passions and is focused on his health, family, and being a strong presence within the Cristian Rivera Foundation.
Carlos met our founder, John, when he was working as the Creative Director at John’s old marketing company, Victory 2. At that job, Carlos met and formed a tight bond with Cristian. He remembers his most fond memories of Cristian were when he would come into the office, sit on Carlos’s lap, and play games on the computer. Carlos reminisced that Cristian had his own phone, business cards, and knew exactly what he wanted. He said that this strong-willed little boy “took up all the energy in the room”. Carlos gave Cristian the nickname “Little Einstein” because he felt it captured his personality. After leaving the company for his current job, Carlos still stayed connected with John. He saw Cristian change and his energy fall. When John asked him to be a Board Member for the Cristian Rivera Foundation, he felt honored. “I didn’t know how I could contribute to the cause since I lacked a huge network of associates and didn’t have the financial means to make a significant dent, but I knew with John as the driving force we would be successful. Initially, I leveraged my professional skills to help the foundation with technical problems, but over time I have been blessed to increase my personal contributions, grew my professional network, and exceeded my annual contribution goals by selling raffle tickets, 5k sponsorships, books, fundraising, getting donations from corporate, matching funds, and spreading the word about DIPG and our mission,” said Carlos.
Carlos knew that the mission of the Cristian Rivera Foundation was going to be an uphill battle. “Our mission was to cure an incurable disease,” he said. Motivated by the connection he saw between John and Cristian, Carlos knew that he would do everything that he could to help. He expressed that board members need to be tenacious, relentless, compassionate, and supportive in order to do this job effectively. There is a need to be dedicated to the cause, even when it may feel that there is no hope. Carlos knows that there is always some good news, even if it is small. To Carlos, success would be, “The day that I stand next to John and they announce that they have found a cure”.
Some of Carlos’s best memories have been at fundraising events. He expressed that the galas are always great to see the support from everyone who has joined the cause. The galas show the growth of the organization from the early days. CRF has gained amazing support and there are many dedicated people who are making a difference as a part of this group. Carlo’s most memorable experience was running in CRF’s Full Steam Ahead 5K. He ran with all 3 of his kids in a stroller! That is some extreme dedication. Carlos also has big plans for the foundation. He believes that there is strength in numbers. “The more good quality members who are dedicated, truly care about the cause, and join the CRF team, the closer we are to finding a cure,” said Carlos. Growing the network of supporters will help to spread awareness and inspire others to contribute both their skills and funds.
We can say without a doubt that Carlos embodies all of the qualities that make a quality board member. He cares deeply about finding a cure for DIPG and is inspired by John’s dedication and strength. Carlos expressed that when he had his first child, he realized what John had been through. “When I first got involved with the foundation, I didn’t have kids, but knew first hand the love and bond John felt for Cristian. But that changed the minute I held our first baby girl in 2011. Fast forward to 2015 and we were once again blessed with our first boy. I told John I wanted to name him Cristian, in honor of the Little Einstein who continues to inspire us all to save the lives of hundreds of children. In 2018, we were once again blessed with another boy whom we named him Alexandro, a slight Latin variation of Cristian’s middle name Alexander. Just like John and other loving parents, we live for our children and would do anything in our power to protect them and make sure they have a chance to live out their dreams,” said Carlos. He wants to work towards a day soon that no other family has to feel that pain. We are incredibly proud of Carlos and his work to make a difference in the lives of so many people. Thank you Carlos for all of your dedication and the work that you continue to do!
By Grace Ison