On Tuesday, June 1st, I attended the 8th Annual Dream and Promise Awards Benefit for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation at the Marriott Marquee Grand Ballroom. To have a foundation that’s been around for 22 years invite me to their event and recognize a foundation like mine-one that’s not even one year old-really felt good. People at the event were coming up to me, talking to me about things the Cristian Rivera Foundation has done. That tells me that they’ve heard of us and they’re excited by what we’re doing. The Cristian Rivera Foundation has been making noise all over town with our billboard, our monthly newsletters, the foundation cards we’ve been handing out all over Manhattan, and of course our wristbands and all the amazing people who wear them. Like Dr. Mark Souweidane and Bob Budlow from the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, who wore their wristbands the entire night. The event gave me a chance to spend time with them, as well as Joe Fray.The people at the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation have told me they’re impressed with the Cristian Rivera Foundation; that for a small foundation, we’ve come a long way in a short time. They’ve been asking me to come to their meetings and they want to get together to figure out ways for us to work together. The people from the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation have been so gracious to me and in them, I see what the Cristian Rivera Foundation can be. I see us quickly getting to the level where we can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at one gala.That bright a future makes me both excited and proud because who we’re really doing this for is the families. I was touched to hear the parents and children who spoke at the event about being survivors and thanking, in part, the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. It also made me very emotional to hear the parents speak that evening whose children had passed away. It’s something I can relate to and something I want to put a stop to. I commend all those parents who attended who had lost their children. They could have easily done what lots of parents do, which is walk away and forget. But instead they are fighting, like me. I know how difficult it is to keep on living after such a great loss. It takes courage to continue fighting this battle after some would say we’ve already lost. But we haven’t lost. And we won’t lose. I feel so strongly that we will find a cure for Pontine Glioma in my lifetime and I will never give up.
John “Gungie” Rivera
Forever Cristian’s Daddy