Cristian Rivera Foundation January 2019 Newsletter


Jan 2019 Newsletter
Jan 2019 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation 2019
January Newsletter

What a year it has been!
2018 was a year of growth, a year of change, and another year closer to finding the cure for DIPG!

Our Founder, John “Gungie” Rivera and committee member,
Robert Vazquez, collaborated to write a Children’s book entitled,
“Cristian’s Journey”.

The foundation’s first publication, “Cristian’s Journey”, was released to help raise awareness and inspire people to become involved with the work taking place globally for pediatric brain cancer research.

This beautiful story depicts Cristian’s journey of love and benevolence throughout the big city. This book is a tale about passion and never giving up despite the odds you may face. 100% of the proceeds of the purchase of this book will be donated to pediatric brain tumor/DIPG research and clinical trials. Have you checked it out? Follow this link to purchase the book

In addition to “Cristian’s Journey”, our 2018 events included the following special events, all designed to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer research:

We launched our 1st Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation “Full Steam Ahead” 5k Walk/Run.

We hosted our 3rd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Freestyle Flashback Benefit Boat Ride.

We hosted our milestone 10th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala and honored a variety of celebrities and doctors for their philanthropy. (Check out the Photos and Video of this amazing event).

Thank you for your continued support by attending, sponsoring, and donating to the Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Hosting these events have brought us to monumental milestone’s within the DIPG and medical community. As of the end of 2018, the Cristian Rivera Foundation has donated well over One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) to help support research and clinical trials for pediatric brain cancer/DIPG, and families who have been affected by this disease. Thank you for your love, passion, and for most importantly keeping these young children and their families in mind.

By your giving efforts, we are now closer than we’ve ever been to finding the cure for DIPG. Be proud- this is all possible because of You!

We would like to take the time to express our gratitude to some key players within our Foundation. Thank you to our Board of Directors, Committee Members, and our Committee Friends. Thank you all for your support, your deep desire to finding a cure for DIPG, and your genuine fellowship at our 2018 events. A very special thank you goes to Dr. Mark Souweidance and Dr. Oren Becher for working tirelessly towards finding a cure for DIPG. Without you all playing a major role within our foundation, none of these milestone’s and accomplishments would have been possible.

One of our clinical trial patients, Lisha, Ayala, has reached a monumental milestone in her life by reaching a 6 year mark with no growth in her tumor! She is living the life of a normal teenager and continues to give hope to the DIPG and medical community. Lisha Ayala reminds us that with faith, your support, and help from the medical community, nothing is impossible. We remain steadfast in doing all that we can to make sure the DIPG children and their families are diagnosis free and we are believing together that we are a few steps closer than we have ever been before.

As you can see, we left 2018 and started 2019 on a great note but January is always a sad month for The Cristian Rivera Foundation. First, Cristian was Diagnosed with DIPG on January 21st, 2007 and lost his Battle to DIPG just two short years later on, January 25th, 2009. Cristian would have been 16 years old had he’d been alive today. In honor of Cristian, our foundation will continue working the “Full Steam Ahead” mentality until we eradicate this disease from our world and no family has to suffer through the process of dealing with a child with DIPG.

You can be a part of the journey of finding a cure for DIPG, and make 2019 the year we say goodbye to this horrible disease. Simply stay connected with us. Join us at our events, share our journey with your family and friends, and please make efforts to our donation. Follow here to view our video that highlights our mission, vision, and objective of the Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Speaking of great supporters and being part of our journey, The Cristian Rivera Foundation highlighted Member of the Month is Committee Friend, Vanessa Rodriguez. Using her experience and resources, Vanessa has been an incredible addition to our team and made valuable contributions to our goals through her hard work and dedication.

Who is Vanessa Rodriguez?
Vanessa, a native New Yorker, is a real estate sales agent with The Corcoran Group. She advises clients at all price points and stages, from first time home buyers to seasoned international investors. She loves the city and all things cultural. She attended St. Jean Baptiste High School in the Upper East Side and graduated from Columbia University. When she’s not working with her clients selling properties or partaking in community events, Vanessa enjoys the small things in life: exploring new restaurants, Broadway theatre, making dinner with family, and going for walks and runs with her 2 doggies – Remy, the Miniature Pinscher and Jimmy, the Boxer.

What does it mean to you to be a part of
the Cristian Rivera Foundation?

It means a lot! I have learned the importance and power in giving back. I am truly honored by being a part of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, it is truly amazing. With the Cristian Rivera Foundation, I am able to help raise awareness and most importantly, give back to DIPG patients. The DIPG patients are children who are helpless when it comes to their health. The least I can do is give back, raise awareness, and be proactive so people are more aware and knowledgeable about the diagnosis.

What are your proudest moments as a Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member?
Some of the many proudest moments I have being a committee member is being able to educate others on DIPG and help advocate to spread awareness. I am proud to share with others how DIPG affects children and how I can help find ways to help raise awareness. I am also proud of the contributions I have made in a short period of time through my donations and raising donations through my network.

All donations to the Cristian Rivera Foundation are tax deductible and money raised by the Cristian Rivera Foundation goes to the suffering families, doctors and hospitals working tirelessly towards finding a find for the deadly pediatric brain tumor known as DIPG.


To give a donation, please visit
All donations are appreciated and go a long way. Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @TweetCRF, Instagram @cristianriverafoundation and like us on Facebook at
stay up to date on the latest news and all of our exciting new upcoming events for 2018!

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 at,
Barnes and Nobile and on our website

Cristian Rivera Foundation
Amazon Smile
Barnes & Noble

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”)

Board of Directors:
Andy Epstein and Darlene Rodriguez.

Committee Members:
Aldo Marin, Alex Garcia, Carlos Colon,
Carlos Yepez, Ed Martin, Elis Pacheco,
Fernando Ferrer, Jarrad Seuferling,
Jesse Allison, Kenan Thompson, Louie Vega,
Luis Guzman, Michael Flatley, Meiling Macias Toro,
Nirav Patel, Paul Pristavec, Rafael Toro,
Ramon E. Javier, Robert Vazquez, Steve Cox,
and Vito Bruno.

 Committee Friends:
Ben Velazquez, Dr. Manuel A. Moran,
Dennis Rodriguez, Dorota Wallace, 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, Ginalisa Monterroso,
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

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