Thanks to overwhelming ticket sales, live and silent auction purchases, and donations associated with this year’s Third Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Gala, John “Gungie” Rivera was proud to present with a check for $100,000 at the star-studded event. John was joined on stage by all of the Cristian Rivera Foundation committee members in attendance – including former Bronx Borough President and mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer, celebrity chef Alex Garcia, actress and founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Miriam Colon, celebrity chef Ricardo Cardona, legendary producer John “Jellybean” Benitez, former New York Knicks all-star Anthony Mason, La Mega’s JI Starr, interior decorator Solange Osorio and professional body builder Victor Martinez – or this historic moment. The event was held at the newly re-launched Copacabana Supper Club and Event Space in Times Square and hosted by Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson and award-winning actor Luis Guzman, both committee members of the Cristian Rivera Foundation. It featured a 30-minute band set by legendary pop/Latin singer Brenda K. Starr and food provided by Celebrity Chefs Ricardo Cardona and Alex Garcia. Among the night’s esteemed guests were Danielle Staub of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, comedian Ruperto Vanderpool, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., New York City Comptroller John Liu, Dangerous Minds actor Renaly Santiago and, of course, Dr. Souweidane, the Director of the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center who took this opportunity to announce that his one-of-a-kind novel delivery system has gotten approval from the FDA and clinical trials will start in a few weeks. You can still help the Cristian Rivera Foundation raise money for Dr. Souweidane’s exciting and important work. Visit www.cristianriverafoundation.org to make a donation, or to purchase signature foundation t-shirts or one of our three styles of wristbands. All money raised goes directly to Dr. Souweidane and his team, and every donation, big or small, helps us get closer to our goal of curing DIPG forever. For photos of the Third Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Gala, visit www.cristianriverafoundation.org/gala3 or www.facebook.com/cristianriverafoundation.
The Cristian Rivera Foundation presented Dr. Mark Souweidane with $30,000 at its Second Annual Gala, which took place at NYC event space Quo on Tuesday, October 19. The money raised from ticket sales is funding promising clinical research that Dr. Souweidane feels will revolutionize the treatment of Pontine Glioma. Dr. Souweidane, who also received the Foundation’s Vision of Hope award, has dedicated his career to the goal of curing this inoperable brain stem tumor. This substantial donation was just one of the night’s many highlights. Guests got the chance to bid on unique items in both live and silent auctions, including boxing gloves autographed by legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and a date with “Las Gemelas Lulu y Lala” from The Luis Jimenez Show on X96.3. Celebrity Chefs Alex Garcia and Ricardo Cardona, recipients of the night’s Outstanding Service Awards, fed the night’s guests with food donated from top NYC restaurants. In addition, Cristian Rivera Foundation founder John “Gungie” Rivera presented Committee Members Tedsmooth and Kenya Bradix with the Cristian Rivera Humanitarian Award for their tireless efforts and dedication to the community. Both of them were very close to Cristian and were touched by the surprise honor. Rivera also presented a special posthumous honor to Ralph Mercado, Sr., who passed away from a brain tumor five weeks after Cristian Rivera lost his life to Pontine Glioma. Among those in attendance were Dangerous Minds actor Renoly Santiago, actor/singer Frankie Negron, Committee Member and rapper Jim Jones, legendary producer and Committee Member Little Louie Vega, Committee Member and former New York Knicks All Star Anthony Mason, Committee Member Funkmaster Flex, Committee Member J.I. Starr of La Mega, singer George Lamond, comedian Ruperto Vanderpool, Committee Member Mr. Olympia Victor Martinez, Committee Member and music producer Boy Wonder of Chosen Few, Committee Member DJ Camilo, singer Brenda K. Starr, singer O’Neill McKnight, Committee Member and film producer David Maldonado, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, and Former Bronx Borough President and Committee Member Fernando Ferrer.
Fernando Ferrer, the first Latino Mayoral candidate in New York City history and friend of John “Gungie” Rivera and Cristian Rivera, has honored the Cristian Rivera Foundation by becoming a member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation committee. Ferrer was a Democratic Mayoral candidate in 2005 and the Democratic Party nominee for Mayor in 2001. John “Gungie” Rivera played a major role in implementing strategic marketing and fundraising for Ferrer in 2001 when he became a Democratic Party Nominee. He also executed strategic marketing, fundraising, design and maintenance of the website for Fernando Ferrer’s bid for Democratic Mayoral Candidate in 2005. Ferrer is a former Bronx borough president where he served from 1988 to 2002. Before becoming Bronx borough president, he also served as a member of the New York City Council. Ferrer received his B.A. from New York University.