Cristian Rivera Foundation September 2019 Newsletter


Sept 2019 Newsletter

Cristian Rivera Foundation 2019
September Newsletter

As summer has drawn to a close, we look back at the fun-filled events we held to continue fueling funds towards our life-saving mission.

This past June we held our 2nd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Full Steam Ahead 5K in Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx where our supporters came out and participated for our cause.  The walk was amazing and introduced our cause to new supporters. 

We also spent a beautiful summer day on the water during our 4th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Freestyle Flashback Boat Ride which featured a live performance by Reggae Legend, Red Fox, and was hosted by CRF supporter Che and our very own committee member Carlos Yepez.

Finally, during New York Fashion Week, on September 5th,  Taiwanese designer, Sami Chen of HappyFish Fashion, dedicated her show in honor of the Cristian Rivera Foundation. Also, our founder John Gungie Rivera’s very own daughter, Sophia, had the chance to grace NYC’s runway!

Each September we remember National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to create a deeper understanding of how cancer affects hundreds of thousands of children every year. DIPG affects 200-300 children per year which is considered “too rare” to receive government funding. The Cristian Rivera Foundation works relentlessly to fill that funding gap for promising research to support families who deserve hope and concrete options to move forward after diagnosis.

On Wednesday, November 13th, our 11th Annual Celebrity Fundraising Gala will be held in efforts to close this funding gap and boost research to the STARS – our theme for this year. It will be a delightful evening filled with prizes, auctions, live painting, performances, and dancing. It’s because of our rock star supporters and committee members that we can celebrate all of the progress we’ve made towards finding a cure. The event will be a black-tie affair held from 6pm – 11pm at Capitale on 130 Bowery, NYC and there’s still time to reserve your seat.

All proceeds from the gala will go directly towards the research of Dr. Souweidane and Dr. Oren Becher, two of the most highly esteemed pediatric oncologists in the nation. Other than attending the gala, here are the best ways you can make a difference:

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.

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 a Table or Tickets to our 11th Annual Celebrity Fundraising Gala –
Even if you can’t attend this year’s gala, consider purchasing a table or a ticket and we will donate the seats to a DIPG family so they can join in on the fun!
Please click the link below to purchase tickets:

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 and click on the red Donation tab where you can send money via PayPal or make a check payable to the Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Lastly, we commend our all-star board member, Andy Epstein, as he takes on his new position as Chairman of the Board for our foundation. His years of loyal perseverance in raising awareness as well as significant funds for our cause have catapulted him to a very special place on our board. Here is what Andy had to say about his new role: “I’m honored and humbled to have been named the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Cristian Rivera Foundation. I look forward to this new responsibility and to continue my efforts alongside John Rivera, our founder, to find a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a deadly cancerous pediatric brain tumor that typically affects children between the ages of 1 & 9. Our foundation continues to raise awareness, support families in need and fund clinical trials. The surgeons and their medical teams that we support have made amazing strides in recent years and we now have three children in remission as a result of their efforts – a feat that was once considered impossible in our lifetime! Together alongside our Board of Directors, committee members, and our generous donors I am hopeful that we will one day find a cure”.

In addition, our dedicated committee member, Carlos Yepez, now sits on the Board of Directors. We honor Carlos for taking up this new responsibility and are excited for the progress we will make with his dynamic presence in this significant role. This is what Carlos had to say about the opportunity: “I am honored to be considered and appointed to the Cristian Rivera Foundations Board of Directors. In my 5 years of being with the organization, I have witnessed firsthand the progress and positive impact this organization has had on children and families affected by DIPG. The determination and passion delivered by the founder John Gungie Rivera and our Chairman of the Board Andy Epstein is contagious. I can honestly say this is one of the organizations that you can measure success and see the progress that the monies raised deliver. My commitment to this organization and those affected by DIPG remains stronger than ever. In this new role I look forward to making a positive impact and deliver on our goal of finding a cure. We have no excuses, no retreat, and no surrender. Let’s make it happen and win big”.

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

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, Michael Flatley, 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, Joseph Balestrine, 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, Dennis Rodriguez, Jose Mantilla
and Karla De Epstein

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