5-year-old Valentina Bravin earns her wings



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.

Happy 14th Birthday Javier “Buji” Villamil


Happy birthday to DIPG Angel Javier “Buji” Villamil born April 26th, 1998. Buji was diagnosed with DIPG just short of his 11th birthday April 13th, 2009 and fought for eight and a half months until he left this world at peace in his own home with his mother and father on January 4th, 2010. Buji was a very athletic young man who enjoyed playing baseball in a pee-wee league and basketball on an all-star team. Our thoughts are with his family and his aunt, Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Fulvia Lora on his 14th birthday today. Rest in peace, angel.

Happy 10th birthday Meg Wasley


Margaret “Meg” Wasley was born April 11th, 2002. Her love of fashion and style established her dream to model and walk a runway. In eight years, Meg was able to fulfill some of her dreams. Meg attended the Make-A-Wish Foudation-themed birthday party of Aoki Lee Simmons and was featured on Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, getting her hair and makeup done on television. Meg shows us that no matter what, you can still smile and be happy. Fighting for almost a year, this princess earned her wings on January 10th, 2011. Today, she is surely celebrating her 10th birthday in style in a carefully selected outfit. Meg, our thoughts are with your family today and we know you will continue to smile down on them to bring them the light you always did. Rest in peace, angel.

Remembering Isaiah Ryan Garza


Isaiah was a strong spirit that surrounded him with friends. He loved for others to be happy and wanted to make a difference in the world. We applaud his strong will to do so. Born on July 21st, 1992, Isaiah was 12 years old when he was diagnosed with DIPG and it was two years later, April 1st, 2006 that he became an angel. Our thoughts reach out to Isaiah’s family on this day. You will never be forgotten, Isaiah. We’re sure you’re doing wonderful things in heaven. Keep watching over and rest peacefully.

Remembering Nathan Andrew Waggoner


Nathan, born August 18th, 1992 was a positive spirit, even after his diagnosis on May 8th, 2008 at the age of 16. He loved his job at an Omaha local Sporting Goods store where he was always around equipment for the sports he loved. He enjoyed boating, fishing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and kayaking. It was March 19th, 2010 when Nathan became an angel. Our thoughts are with his parents Jeff and Monica and his brother Nicholas always. Rest in peace, angel. Keep smiling.

Remembering Hope Fuller


The Cristian Rivera Foundation remembers DIPG Angel, Hope Fuller who earned her wings on March 10th, 2010 after being diagnosed on July 29th 2009. Hope had a true humanitarian spirit and tried to help everyone in any way she could. From lemonade stands for a homeless woman in her neighborhood and for her school, a car wash for her uncle’s business and donating her hair to Locks of Love, Hope had a huge heart and extended it to help others.  Not only was she extremely intelligent and earned straight As, but she was also very talented in the art of theater, playing the lead of Mulan in a school production.  We aspire to mirror Hope’s compassion and consideration, as she inspires us to do well for everyone around us. Our thoughts are with her family today. Rest in Peaceful Harmony, beautiful angel.

Remembering Brendan Duhaime


Happy 9th Birthday to DIPG Angel Brendan Duhaime! Brendan was diagnosed just a day before Thanksgiving, November 25th 2009 and lost his battle June 18th 2011. DIPG might have taken his physical strength, but as the exuberant young man he was, it never took his spirit. The lives he touched in just 8 years is apparent and all of us at the Cristian Rivera Foundation will keep Brendan and his family in our thoughts as our hearts hang low today. However, the sun is shining brightly on the warmest day of the year so far and we know it’s for you sweetheart.

The Cristian Rivera Foundation mourns the loss of Samuel Tyler Kidd

Samuel Tyler Kidd

Monday January, 9 2012 was a sad day for the entire DIPG community as Heaven gained another DIPG Angel. Eleven-year-old Samuel Tyler Kidd lost his battle with DIPG at 9:30 that morning. His parents, Mark and Mindy, will always remember him as vibrant, fun-loving, caring little boy. He had a huge heart of pure gold and always smiled no matter what. Tyler put up a brave fight against DIPG and was an example of incredible courage and strength. The Cristian Rivera Foundation extends our sincerest sympathy and condolences at what is surely an unimaginably difficult time for Tyler’s family and friends. Samuel Tyler Kidd will always stay in our thoughts and prayers.

Remembering Javier “Buji” Villamil

Javier “Buji” Villamil

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 marked two years since DIPG took the life of an amazing young boy named Javier “Buji” Villamil. During his short life, Buji was a great athlete who loved sports, George Lopez, iCarly and Scooby Snacks fruit snacks. He earned his wings a few months shy of his 12th birthday and will forever be missed by his family—including his mom Rosemary Lora, dad Gabriel Villamil and aunt Fulvia Lora, a committee member with the Cristian Rivera Foundation—as well as his friends and everyone who has had the pleasure to meet him. We at the Cristian Rivera Foundation are keeping Buji and his family in our thoughts and prayers on this difficult anniversary.

The Cristian Rivera Foundation Remembers
Faith Sonia Griffin on Her 9th Birthday


Today, Tuesday November 22, 2011, marks what would have been Faith Sonia Griffin’s 9th birthday. Sadly, Faith is not here with us to celebrate her big day. After fighting bravely against DIPG for approximately 13 months, Faith earned her wings on November 2, 2008. Faith, her parents Charles and Sonia, and her younger brother Elijah are in our hearts and our thoughts today.