On January 22, 2007, I received the worst news of my life. My 4 year-old son, Cristian, was diagnosed with an inoperable Pontine Glioma brain stem tumor which generally affects kids 1 to 9 years-old. It has no cure and it also has a life expectancy of 3 to 18 months. Cristian’s battle for his life lasted 2 years and a few days (passing away on January 25, 2009) but the new battle in honor of his new life has begun.
Cristian, I love and miss you dearly. Ever since you passed away, I committed myself to help find a cure for this deadly disease so that no other family would have to go through the grief of losing their beloved children. In keeping with this commitment, I have created the Cristian Rivera Foundation in your honor.
The mission of the Cristian Rivera Foundation is to help find the cure for the Pontine Glioma brain stem tumor that ultimately claimed Cristian’s young life. The Cristian Rivera Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization that donates all monies raised to hospitals and foundations actively researching cures for Pontine Glioma through medical trials and scientific research. The foundation has already contributed $140,000 to the research of Dr. Mark Souweidane, a neurosurgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Director of the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center for his therapeutic approach to DIPG. Dr. Souweidane, inspired by his patient Cristian Rivera and other children and their families affected by devastating childhood cancers, will be launching a pioneering FDA-approved clinical trial. The innovative use of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) will be the first of its kind to administer radio immunotherapy to children with an otherwise incurable tumor.
The Cristian Rivera Foundation is dedicated to supporting promising, innovative research like this in pursuit of a cure.