Raising Hope and Awareness in Hoboken

Some say the best is often brought to fight in the face of human tragedy. That couldn’t be more true for the friends and family of the Cristian Rivera Foundation (CRF). Wednesday night, guests packed Zylo, the steakhouse located in the W-Hoboken, for a cancer fundraiser. CRF Committee member and host Andy Epstein organized the event with the help of Zylo’s Manager Kevin Hayes.

But the real human face of this disease is Cristian Rivera, the child of John and Jenelle, who lost the battle with cancer. Throughout the dining room were posters of Cristian, which served as a reminder to attendees of why the foundation was started.

Over 55k was raised at the event – with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity. Several celebrities came out to show their support and many items for the live auction were also donated including a signed chef’s jacket by the Cake Boss, and an autographed jersey by NJ Devils Captain Zach Parise, among others.

Article by:
Diana Schwaeble
Photos by:
Krista Kelly

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.

Hoboken charity event raises $55,000, has appearances from SNL, Real Housewives of New Jersey stars

The New York City-based The Cristian Rivera Foundation hosted an event on June 13 in Hoboken to raise money for a cure for a rare, inoperable brain stem tumor. The event, held at the Zylo Tuscan Steak House, helped raise $55,000 for a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Saturday Night Live’s, Kenan Thompson, and Real Housewife of New Jersey star, Danielle Staub were in attendance, with a featured performance by past ‘Sinatra Idol’ winner Eric DeLauro.

New Jersey Devils Captain Zach Parise made a surprise appearance to auction off an autographed hockey stick and jersey. The money was donated to the Pediatric Brain and Spine Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center . “With all of the hard work and passion we see from the Cristian Rivera Foundation and especially its founder, John “Gungie” Rivera, I have no doubts we will realize our dream,” said Dr. Mark Souweidane in a release, who has dedicated his career to curing DIPG, which has no known survivors.

Source: www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2012/06/hoboken_charity_event_raises_5.html

The Cristian Rivera Foundation Raises $55,000
for DIPG Research at Zylo Fundraiser


Philanthropists, celebrity guests and more came together in support of the Cristian Rivera Foundation last night for the foundation’s first-ever New Jersey fundraiser at Zylo Tuscan Steak House in Hoboken. All proceeds from the event went towards the Cristian Rivera Foundation’s goal of curing rare, inoperable pediatric brain stem tumor Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Andy Epstein and Zylo manager Kevin Hayes organized the event, which featured entertainment from Sinatra Idol winner Eric DeLauro (www.SinatraIdol.com) and hot new singing sensations Tyler Reid and Stevie G (www.youtube.com/tylernstevie). Guests also enjoyed three hours of passed hors d’oeuvres, as well as specialty cocktails from Stoli Vodka and first-class tastings provided by Artesa Winery and Macallan Scotch.

Many esteemed and noteworthy guests were on hand at the sold-out event, including Real Housewives of New Jersey star Danielle Staub and Saturday Night Live Star and Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Kenan Thompson. Some of Thompson’s fellow Committee Members who attended the event included actress and founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Miriam Colon, founder and CEO of AM PM Entertainment Concepts Vito Bruno, Information Technology manager Steve Cox, founder of Bronx Base Builders William Padilla, interior decorator Solange Osorio, concert impresario Ralph Mercado, businessman Elis Pacheco, and Celebrity Chefs Alex Garcia and Ricardo Cardona.

Fresh off the Stanley Cup Finals, New Jersey Devils Captain Zach Parise made a surprise appearance to auction off an autographed hockey stick and jersey, as well as once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities with guests. The auction also included rare autographed items from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and home-catered meals provided by Chefs Garcia and Cardona, among other items.

In all, the Cristian Rivera Foundation raised $55,000 to help fund the groundbreaking clinical trials led by Dr. Mark Souweidane at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Souweidane operated on the first patient in his trial—a beautiful 4-year-old girl—on May 1, 2012, the first day of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Dr. Jeff Greenfield, who works alongside Dr. Souweidane in his quest to cure DIPG, attended the event and gladly accepted the $55,000 check from Epstein, Hayes and Cristian Rivera Foundation founder John “Gungie” Rivera.

Since October of 2010, the Cristian Rivera Foundation has donated more than $200,000 to Dr. Souweidane’s pioneering research.

For more information on the Cristian Rivera Foundation, please visit