Cristian Rivera Foundation Fights Diffuse Pontine Glioma

Carlos Keyes has made his name in the music business by representing stars such as Gloria Gaynor, the Human League, and Natalie Cole. Carlos Keyes also donates his energies in committee work for the Cristian Rivera Foundation in the Bronx, New York.

The foundation began with the life of a small child named Cristian Rivera, who died at age 6 from diffuse pontine glioma (DIPG). A DIPG is a malignant tumor found on the brainstem, which controls essential body functions. The life expectancy after diagnosis is about three to 18 months. Causes of the disease remain unknown. Doctors diagnose some 300 cases each year.

Symptoms develop rapidly. Children who develop DIPG lose the ability to control facial expressions, eye motions, and swallowing. The disease also results in weak limbs, impaired walking, headaches, fatigue, and vomiting.

Treatment involves radiation therapy immediately upon diagnosis; this shrinks tumors in about 75 percent of cases for a median period of less than six months. However, standard and higher doses do not provide a cure.

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