I have been overwhelmed by the responses I’ve been getting since Cristian’s billboard went up on the West Side Highway. I’ve gotten such positive feedback from friends, family and even strangers. What that tells me is what I set out to do-to raise awareness-is working. And that brings me so much joy. This billboard is something I dreamed of doing since the Foundation started and now that it’s up, people are responding! The billboard has also led to people from the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, and other Pontine Glioma groups, to reach out to me. They want me to get involved in what they’re doing. They want to get involved in what we’re doing. Sometimes they just want to ask for advice. The Cristian Rivera Foundation has become the talk of the DIPG community and they are rooting for us to succeed. If we succeed, they succeed. I also feel confident about Dr. Mark Souweidane and the research he’s doing. Part of the reason other treatments have failed in the past is because they kill both the bad cancer cells and the good cells. But Dr. Souweidane’s method looks like it only kills the bad cells. He’s figured out a way to get the treatments to reach the actual tumor, which gives me so much hope. I’m proud to support him because I don’t want to keep hearing stories about other DIPG kids passing away or their families suffering. I just wish this breakthrough had come while Cristian was still here because I really miss him. I miss Cristian so much, but it brings me joy to know that he’s in a better place up in heaven. Maybe the plus side to his death is that it got someone like me-who has been so successful at promoting events and products all my life-to promote the message of DIPG. It’s an important message that needs to be spread if we’re ever going to make a difference. I look forward to the day when I can say we beat this, or at least got a step closer to finding a cure. This is something so important to me and I refuse to give up this fight until we’re able to save lives.
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