CRF April 2020 Newsletter – Full Steam Ahead in the time of COVID-19

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APril 2020 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation 2020 April Newsletter

It has been an overwhelming month for each of us as we all adjust to a new definition of “normal”. We have all experienced changes in our everyday routines and alterations in our plans for the months ahead. For the Cristian Rivera Foundation, our 3rd Annual CRF 5K has been postponed due to a state-wide mandate to close all NYC parks. For now, we plan to hold the 5K in July – whether it’s in person or virtually. We won’t let anything stop us from fighting against DIPG!

Some good news is that CRF has been awarded the Guidestar Platinum Seal for the 3rd year in a row. Thanks to your unwavering support, our amazing board members, the hard work of Dr. Souweidane and Dr. Becher, and the success of our CRF programs, we’re able to make recognizable strides in our mission to defeat DIPG. We continue to make amazing progress with all of your help.

Our foundation constantly presses on with the mantras of love and benevolence that Cristian’s journey taught us – especially during the darkest days. You may be wondering, how can I still spread love and benevolence at a time like this? How can we continue our mission of defeating DIPG with another enemy in town? During this month of April, we’re picking our heads up and reaching out to YOU to simply share some positivity and stay connected. Below you’ll find how we can still move “Full Steam Ahead” in the face of the pandemic.

How can I help CRF during the time of COVID-19?

  • Stay connected with us and share what you’ve been doing to cope.

  • COVID-19 is a problem too big for any of us to handle on our own. Have you found a new routine that’s been working wonders for you? Been doing something incredibly meaningful during quarantine? We would love to know what your life has looked like since the pandemic began and what you’ve been doing to keep busy. Share your story here and you may be featured on our social media!

  • We’re looking for ways to help one another, whether it be inspirational stories, funny videos, or any information or resources you run into that may be helpful for our organization. In addition, we’d like to know about any challenges you may be facing as a result of this pandemic. We will do anything within our means to help or we will try and connect you with someone within our network that may be a good resource. Community support is important as we cannot get through this alone.

  • Share your creativity.

  • People are worried but are not sure what they can do as individuals to help. Rather than spending too much time worrying, using our mental and creative energy towards finding ways to take action can uplift all of us during this time. Some of us may have more free time to think of creative ways to fundraise or different ways that we can support one another. Let’s take action and spread positivity! If you have some creative ideas, share them with us here.

  • Donate, if it’s within your financial means

  • We understand that making donations may not be possible for everyone at this time, but we’d like to remain honest in that everything has been impacted by this pandemic and this includes non-profit organizations like ours. During this time of uncertainty, charitable donations may be the lifeline for our foundation and for DIPG children and doctors who severely need our help. Though many of you may be channeling attention towards organizations that are responding directly to COVID-19, we’d like to alert you that for families dealing with DIPG, now is a scarier time than ever as cancer patients are extremely vulnerable and resources are slimmer than ever. If you can, please consider spreading your charitable donations to a few causes that are important to you, including ours. You can make a tax-deductible donation in any amount here.

  • Start a FB or Online Fundraiser

  • If donating is not something that you can do at this time, rally up your family and friends and see if they can help! Starting a personal Facebook fundraiser for the Cristian Rivera Foundation is one of the most actionable and simple ways that you can help, especially with increased social distancing. If each of us started one online fundraiser, we could raise thousands of dollars at the click of a button. Starting a FB fundraiser only takes 5 minutes, which is a microsecond in the long days ahead. Please contact us to learn more about how you can start a FB fundraiser for CRF.

  • Use your voice and advocate for us on social media

  • Still looking for more ways to help? One of the BEST ways to take action is simply by reposting, sharing, and advocating for us on social media. You can start by sharing this newsletter using one of the Social Media Share buttons below or you can create a post with a direct call for donations by copy and pasting this link in your post.

During a time like this, it can be very easy to feel helpless, but we hope we’ve shared some helpful and actionable tips to help move all of us through this season. We are grateful for your ongoing support through thick and thin. This month we introduce you to one of our fondest supporters, new CRF Board Member Francesco Quattrone.

Francesco is the owner of Supermarket Italy, an online marketplace that was established in 2009. He is an extremely hard worker and has dedicated well over a decade to building this brand. Today, Supermarket Italy receives $30 million in sales a year and yields 60 employees. He loves to play soccer and is all about giving back. In addition to CRF, Francesco is an unwavering supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. He is a true family man and the proud father of his 2-year-old son, Leonardo. Francesco currently lives in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ with his girlfriend, son and stepson.

When asked how he felt about becoming a board member, Francesco said, “Through my friend Andy Epstein, the Chairman of the Board, I sponsored and attended both the 10th and 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Galas. After these events, I found myself running home to hug my boys. I’ve always been a person who likes to give back and I felt deeply compelled to join the board of the Cristian Rivera Foundation. As a father, I can’t imagine what these children and families go through and I feel it’s my obligation to do my part to eradicate this disease. I am happy and proud to be part of such a great organization and look forward to serving under the leadership of Andy Epstein, Carlos Yepez, and John “Gungie” Rivera. Through our combined efforts, I hope that one day DIPG will be a thing of the past.” We’re so happy to have him on the team!

Those are all of our updates for April, we are sure that the air will continue to clear, and we look forward to days of greater peace and clarity. Until then, we love you 10! Full steam ahead!

Our Mission

The 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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