Another $55,000 towards a cure


We sincerely thank Andy Epstein for his involvement in last month’s event at the Zylo Tuscan steakhouse. From this event, an additional $55,000 has gone towards clinical trials which aim to find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Past events we’ve held have greatly contributed towards the costs of the operations. Dr. Souweidane has operated on two patients so far, a little girl and a little boy who are stable and doing well. These operations are taking us a step closer towards finding a cure. We hope to treat more patients affected by DIPG in the future and ultimately begin saving lives.

Community comes out to support 5-year-old cancer patient

She doesn’t know Zach Cadwalder or have any affiliation with his family, but when Jessica Kane heard about the fundraiser that will benefit the sick 5-year-old, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

“I’m a teacher, and it’s terrible to see a child sick. So, anything you can do,” she said.

Ms. Kane was one of hundreds who came out to support the Cadwalders after the Green Ridge family found out in November that Zach had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma – an inoperable brain tumor. The family takes Zach to an experimental clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland for treatment.

Family and friends pulled together to make sure the family had what they needed to get by.

“It’s devastating news; he really is the strongest person we know,” said relative Gabrielle Kasaczun, who helped organize the event. “We decided we had to do something to raise money.”

With a large picture of Zach dressed in a purple baseball uniform – his ears poking out from his cap, clutching a bat and flashing a toothy grin – displayed in the middle of St. Mary’s Center on Friday night, hundreds of people came to eat, drink and buy raffle tickets.

The proceeds go toward the young boy’s medical care and travel expenses as Zach undergoes radiation and chemotherapy five days a week. His family said his attitude is as positive as ever.

“He’s very brave. He’s happy and outgoing,” Ms. Kasaczun said of her little cousin.

Zach’s aunt, Lauren Washo, said the family can only be grateful for the overwhelming support shown for the 5-year-old.

“He’s our superhero,” Ms. Washo said.

Ms. Kane said working with children as a pre-kindergarten teacher has shown her a lot about the spirit of young kids like Zach.

“They have a wonderful ability to bounce back,” she said. “They have an inner strength you wish adults had sometimes.”

Contact the writer: ksullivan@timesshamrock.com



By Katie Sullivan ksullivan@timesshamrock.com

Cristian Rivera Foundation Continues to Spread Awareness at the 2011 Latin Mixx Conference


Last night, the Cristian Rivera Foundation was featured during the Latin Mixx Conference (LMC) Awards Ceremony at The Times Square Center. The ceremony marked LMC’s 6th year in the making, and honored the top Latino DJ’s and promoters in the business. Founder, Kevin “Pills” Monatano, acknowledged the growing strength of the Latino population and pulled all the stops in coordinating this meeting of the minds for the three-day conference. The awards ceremony was hosted by Sito Rocks, K. Marie, BET & 105.1 FM’s DJ Prostyle, and BET 106 & Park’s very own Rocsi. However, hands down the most hysterical antics where Comedy Central Premium Blend, Galavision Que Loco, and BET Comic View’s Jason Andors who kept crowd in stitches with his dance moves and impressions. Later in the evening, the Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Founder John “Gungie” Rivera spoke on behalf of the Foundation in a heartfelt presentation about the devastating effects of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG. Rivera extended his praise to all nominees for having come so far, and conveyed his enthusiasm for being Latino in the entertainment industry right now. Rivera also went into the grim details surrounding the loss of his son to the inoperable brain stem tumor, DIPG. He asked for the parents in the audience to identify themselves and related, “One thing for sure is that we love our children more than anything, that’s the greatest love that we could ever experience.” He spoke about how he created the foundation shortly after his son passed with the support of committee members in the audience like DJ Camilo and Tedmooth. Rivera ended his presentation with a story of hope. In January, a 6 year old girl from Spain was operated on by Dr. Mark Souweidane of Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in an effort to save her life. Dr. Souweidane’s viable scientific research has recently shown promise of a cure and that operation marked the launch of his medical trials. A girl who supposedly had just weeks to live, is stable 7 months later. Rivera extended his best wishes to the young girl and her family. The Cristian Rivera Foundation and its members look forward to a continued relationship with Latin Mixx. Overall, it was inspiring to see so many successful Latinos united to recognize each other’s accomplishments.