Cristian Rivera Foundation
October 2019 Newsletter


Oct 2019 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation 2019
October Newsletter

As the leaves start to fall, we can’t help but look forward to our 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala on Wednesday, November 13th. We are weeks away from the fantastic evening we have planned to help save the lives of beautiful children and cure DIPG. The theme of this year’s gala is STARS which holds a lot of meaning for us because the progress we make towards curing DIPG gives children the opportunity to fulfill their potential and become the stars they were meant to be.

We have an exciting night planned that starts at 6pm with a glowing, star-studded red carpet followed by cocktail hour and a sit-down dinner prepared by a Michelin-star chef. This year we’ve taken the gala to the next level as a black-tie affair with an open bar from 6-11pm. Throughout the evening we’ll be presenting awards, holding a live and a silent auction of rare items, and we’ve saved plenty of time to dance the night away.

We always reflect on the importance of the work we do by honoring the brave children whose lives were senselessly taken by DIPG. At this year’s gala, DIPG Angel Lucas Harashima is the 2019 recipient of the Cristian Rivera Foundation Golden Wings Award. His loving parents, Hide and Sansan, will grace us with their attendance in honor of their beloved son.

This year Dr. Mark Souweidane will be presenting Dr. Kathy Warren with our 2019 Vision & Hope Award for her determination to define new ways to deliver therapy to tumors that are tolerable for pediatric brain cancer patients. Dr. Warren is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric neuro-oncology from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.

Last year’s recipient of the Cristian Rivera Foundation Humanitarian Award, actor Ramon Rodriguez, will present this year’s award to Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon for his humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. “Crazy Legs” is a hip-hop pioneer, breakdancing legend, and a proud Bronx native. His partnerships with Red Bull and other local organizations have aided him in providing substantial hurricane relief effort.

Finally, last year’s winning committee members, Jesse Allison and Jarrad Seuferling, will present our beloved committee member Aldo Marin with the 2019 Cristian Rivera Foundation Outstanding Service and Dedication Award. Aldo is a respected music producer and former DJ whose phenomenal service to our foundation this year earned him this well-deserved award.

Another exceptional member of our board is our Committee Friend, Maggie Meehan. This month she is The Cristian Rivera Foundation highlighted Member of the Month for her incomparable passion towards our foundation’s mission.

Who is Maggie Meehan?
Maggie Meehan is a hospice social worker who wears many different hats but one of her most unique qualities that makes her shine above the rest is her unrivaled passion to help people and live life to the fullest. Maggie has been living in Belmar, NJ for the past two years since she obtained a job there at the Visiting Nurses Association. She is one of 6 girls in her family and her passion to help others came from the life-altering experience of losing her father at the young age of 16. Since then, Maggie has had a remarkable determination to advocate for those who need help in every way that she can.

What made you decide to get involved with the Cristian Rivera Foundation?
Maggie was inspired to work with CRF 2-3 years ago when she was offered a job with the foundation but pursued another work opportunity. Despite following a different path, Maggie and our founder, John “Gungie” Rivera, immediately developed a strong relationship and she felt motivated by John to help make a difference. “I loved the mission and how passionate John is in everything that he does. I wanted to continue to be involved with something really incredible and so I continued to volunteer and attend fantastic events, eventually I had the pleasure of becoming a Committee Friend,” – said Meehan.

How has the Cristian Rivera Foundation impacted your life?
Maggie said, “Being a part of the Cristian Rivera Foundation has given me many opportunities to meet other dedicated and passionate people with a similar mindset and to attend awe-inspiring events like the gala. The foundation has given me another sense of community with an additional group of fantastic people in my life,”.

How do you feel about the progress we’ve made as a foundation?
“We continue to go above and beyond supporting the children and families affected by DIPG but there’s always room for us to do more and I feel extremely excited for what the future has to hold for all of the incredible events, opportunities, and engagements we have planned for the future,”- said Maggie.

You don’t have to become a committee member to help fight against DIPG. There are so many things you can do that could potentially save lives today:

Become a Sponsor –
There are many different levels of sponsorship in order to match your giving capability. We’re incredibly proud to partner with amazing companies like Goya Foods, B&A Food Brokers, Patrick B Jenkins and Associates, Bronx Dems, PNC Bank, Dr Jacquie Smiles, Supermarket Italy, Joule Ent, Perfect Smile Dental and more. Check out this link to view our sponsorship options. All proceeds go towards research and clinical trials to find a cure for DIPG.

Purchase an Ad for the Gala’s Program –
Are you unable to attend this year’s gala but you or your family would like to give a personalized message of hope? Would you like to promote your personal business AND raise money that’s supports our mission at the same time? You can either purchase a half or full page ad that will be displayed in the programs printed for our gala at

Purchase Tickets –
There’s still a window of opportunity to purchase tickets to our 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala on Wed, November 13th at Capitale in NYC but that window is closing very, very soon. We have a handful of tickets left as the gala is only weeks away. Please purchase tickets at the following link cristianriverafoundation.org/gala-table-tickets.html

Make a Donation –
Every dollar counts when it comes to saving lives! Even donations in small amounts are tax-deductible and can create ripple effects in our groundbreaking research. Visit cristianriverafoundation.org/donation.html and click on the red Donation tab where you can send money via PayPal or make a check payable to the Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Please forward all of our happenings and giving opportunities to your families, friends, and colleagues and we look forward to seeing you at our gala in November! Full steam ahead!

The 11th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation
Celebrity Gala is sponsored by

Platinum: Platinum
Gold: Gold
Silver: Silver
Bronze: Bronze
In-Kind: Bronze
Our MissionThe 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
and Robert Vazquez

Available on our website CristianRiveraFoundation.org

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 Garcia, Carlos Colon,
Ed Martin, Elis Pacheco, Fernando Ferrer,
Jarrad Seuferling, Jesse Allison,
Kenan Thompson, Louie Vega,
Luis Guzman, Meiling Macias Toro,
Paul Pristavec, Rafael Toro, Ramon E. Javier,
Robert Vazquez, Steve Cox, and Vito Bruno.

 Committee Friends:
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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Copyright © 2019 Cristian Rivera Foundation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Cristian Rivera Foundation PO Box 656. Edgewater, NJ 07020

The Cristian Rivera Foundation October 2016 Newsletter

The Cristian Rivera Foundation October 2016 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation
October 2016 Newsletter

It has been quite a while since our last newsletter, but we are back and better than ever! We hope everyone had a good October! We are looking forward to the rest of this beautiful fall and to working together in November to pull off the 8th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Celebrity Fundraising Gala. We are working hard to plan a beautiful evening dedicated to the children who suffered and are suffering from DIPG.

There are quite a few updates to give. First, Dr. Mark Souweidane treated his final patient in Phase I clinical trial of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) for DIPG. The trial, which enrolled 31 patients over the last 4 years, was to test the safety of CED as a means to fight the DIPG tumor directly. You can read more from Dr. Souweidane Weill Cornell Brain and Spine blog, here. In more good news, Lisha got her latest MRI results in and her results were excellent: stable with no growth! Lisha is the living proof that the work of the Cristian Rivera Foundation in supporting Dr. Souweidane and his team is valuable and making great strides in finding a cure for DIPG.

Many of you remember Allen. If you don’t, Allen was an 8 year old boy who was diagnosed with DIPG and had one wish-to meet his favorite Power Ranger.  The Cristian Rivera Foundation and The Little Kernel was able to send Allen and his family to California to fulfill his wish of meeting the Blue Power Ranger, his favorite one! But, it is with heavy hearts that we are reminded of the severe reality of DIPG because Allen passed away on October 9th. Our prayers and thoughts are with Allen and his family during this time.

As you know, the 8th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Celebrity Fundraising Gala is Wednesday, November 30th at the Broad Street Ballroom starting at 6 PM. Tickets are almost sold out, but sponsorships and ads to be featured in our program are still available for purchase. We are still seeking live and silent auction items. If you, or someone you know, would like to donate an item or an experience please email info@cristianriverafoundation.org so we can send you the Auction Donation Form.

To date, the Cristian Rivera Foundation has donated more than $700,000 to research of Dr. Mark Souweidane of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Director of the Weill Cornell Medical College Pediatric Brain and Spine Center and families of children currently fighting DIPG. Our goal is to hit the mark of one million dollars donated in 2017. Consider making a donation today and at the gala. Consider making your donation a monthly donation. All contributions are tax-deductible and fund critical DIPG research and support the children and their families during their fight.

We will start sending updates about the Gala soon. We are so excited to see everyone on Wednesday, November 30th!

The Cristian Rivera Foundation

John “Gungie” Rivera
(Founder of The Cristian Rivera Foundation & “Forever Cristian’s Daddy”)

Board of Directors of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Andy Epstein, Darlene Rodriguez and Craig Serra.

Committee Members of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Aldo Marin, Alex Garcia, Carlos Colon, Carlos Yepez, Dennis Rodriguez, Dr. Manuel A. Moran, Elis Pacheco, Fernando Ferrer, Kenan Thompsona, Luis Guzman,
Meiling Macias Toro, Miriam Colon, Nirav Patel, Robert Vazquez, Rafael Toro, Ramon E. Javier, Steve Cox, Tony Ferrara and Vito Bruno

Committee Friends of the Cristian Rivera Foundation:
Ben Velazquez, Carlos Nazario, Dean Feratovic, Edward Caban, Funk Flex, Jerry Chaparro,
J.I. Starr, Little Louie Vega, Mark Rosner, Modesto Lacen, Pablo Diaz, Paul Pristavec,
Robert Dominguez, Steven Rodas, Teddy “Tedsmooth” Mendez, Victor Martinez,
and William Pla

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