John “Gungie“ Rivera, my dear friend, lost his child Cristian to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare childhood cancer, which involves an inoperable brain tumor located in the stem of the brain. Cristian fought his battle with DIPG for 2 years until he passed away on January 25, 2009, in the arma of his mother and father at the age of 6. Our foundation’s work is to raise awareness for support to one day find a cure for Pontine Glioma so no other family will have to suffer the grief that Cristian Rivera’s family has endured. Every child deserves a chance at life, and they need our help.
We raise funds to help support the research team led by Dr. Mark M. Souweidane from Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His team has made amazing strides in the battle against this disease. To date, we have 3 children responding well to the clinical trials. Amongst the high number of so many children who have been defeated by DIPG, these 3 success stories give us so much hope on a cure for DIPG. These 3 children are living beyond the life expectancy which is a miracle. The prognosis for DIPG is abysmal and for the majority the median survival is about 1 year. The most notable case is that of Lisha Ayalais, 14, who was diagnosed with DIPG seven years ago. She became a part of the clinical trials funded by Cristian Rivera Foundation under the supervision of Dr. Souweidane. Lisha has defied the odds, and she is living proof that we are making progress. This encouraging development has emboldened CRF to work even harder to spread the word and increase support for the foundation so that more kids can join Atala in her progress. Each year in North America, DIPG kills between 300-400 children.
The funds raised support medical facilities and scientific trials whose primary focus is to find a cure for the disease. We are asking all friends for support. Every child deserves a chance at life.