My heart is heavy with news that two DIPG angels earned their wings, not only in the same week but on the exact same day. Octavio and Madi lost their brave battles with DIPG, leaving their parents with indescribable pain and anguish. It’s so frustrating for me to read those emails. It’s as if I’m reliving Cristian’s battle all over again. But that’s what DIPG does. It takes beautiful, amazing children away from this Earth long before their time. Heaven is filled with too many DIPG angels. I want to help the families whose children have passed away, as well as those who are still fighting, like Jordan Malave, whose health continues to deteriorate. That’s why it’s so important that we all work together to find a cure. Cristian’s tumor tissue, which we donated after he passed away, has proved to be so helpful in DIPG research. Dr. Oren Becher from the Duke Department of Pediatrics, who has been doing mouse model work, has been studying Cristian’s tumor. He saw me at the DIPG symposium earlier this year and let me know how valuable Cristian’s tumor tissue has been. So after consulting with Loice Swisher, Cristian’s Mommy and Juan Manuel, Lucia’s father from Spain, I am glad to say that the Cristian Rivera Foundation will begin supporting not only Dr. Souweidane’s research but, at a smaller level, Dr. Becher’s work as well. I want to do everything I can so that children like Octavio, Madi, Cristian and so many others will no longer have to die from DIPG.
John “Gungie” Rivera
Forever Cristian’s Daddy