Jesselyn Silva is a fiery teen, who prior to her DIPG diagnosis in July of 2021 was well on her way to becoming an Olympic boxer. Ever since she first stepped into a gym at age 7, she has been training hard, and her ambition and drive have pushed her to where she is today. Jesselyn was ranked the number one female boxer in the nation over two years until her DIPG diagnosis made it difficult for her to train. However, Jesselyn believes that her time spent boxing has taught her valuable lessons that she carries into her everyday life. The most important lesson she learned was to “never give up”, and she has taken that lesson with her throughout her cancer treatment.
Jesselyn is currently undergoing radiation treatment in Harlem following a three-week hospital stay over her 16th birthday. During that stay, Jesselyn underwent a 6-hour neuro procedure to remove a small part of her tumor. She spent three weeks in the hospital recovering and is now back at home with her family. Prior to her radiation treatment, she was on a clinical trial which was not helpful to her. During that trial, it was discovered through genetic testing that she carries a mutated gene that has been known to cause DIPG. Jesselyn is currently recovering from the surgeries at home in the presence of her loved ones.
Jesselyn is an incredibly accomplished young woman and is a published author who wrote a book titled “My Corner of the Ring”, which is about her experiences boxing. She has always dreamed of becoming an author due to her love of the book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, so the opportunity to write this book was incredibly exciting for her. Jesselyn and her family believe that boxing has given her the confidence to do anything she sets her mind to.
Jesselyn’s dedication allowed her to balance boxing and school while being incredibly successful at both. While in school, she made the honor roll, yet again demonstrating her dedication. Now that she is receiving treatment, Jesselyn is being homeschooled, and she now gets to choose whenever she wants to do school work all by herself.
In her spare time, Jesselyn loves to spend time with her family, read, and create art. Her family is extremely close, and Jesselyn’s Dad and younger brother are at her side always. Jesselyn’s father Pedro Silva compliments her by saying “She always got the job done, and she is a special child. My family keeps her motivated, pushing her and being there for her all the time”. Jesselyn is very faith-driven and believes that with the help of God and her family, she can get through anything. She says, “I am Faith-driven and I believe God will help me get through everything just like he helps everyone else”.
Jesselyn is from Bergenfield, New Jersey, which is located only a short drive from the foundation’s headquarters. Her dad learned about the foundation through a mutual friend, Carlos Yepez, who is on the Cristian Rivera Foundation Board of Directors. We are so grateful that Carlos connected us to Jesselyn’s family so that we are able to have the opportunity to speak to this incredible teen.
She is currently being treated by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, whose research CRF has supported over the years. We know that Jesselyn is in good hands at Sloan and we wish her all the best on her journey.