The Cristian Rivera Foundation is excited to honor their newest warrior, Jesselyn Silva, at their 5th Annual Full Steam Ahead 5K this Saturday, June 18, 2022!
Champion boxer, published author, and star of a documentary film—Jesselyn “JessZilla” Silva is in the biggest fight of her life after being diagnosed in July of 2021 with DMG (Diffuse Midline Glioma) an aggressive and inoperable pediatric brain tumor, at the age of 15.
Ever since Jesselyn was seven, she’s had a passion for boxing. Because of her ambition and dedication, she was well on her way to becoming an Olympic boxer after ranking as the number one junior female boxer in the nation for over two years prior to her diagnosis.
Though her DMG diagnosis has made it hard for her to continue training, she believes that her time spent in boxing has taught her valuable life lessons that she carries with her daily. The most important lesson that she’s learned was to never give up, and she has taken this lesson with her in her fight against cancer.
In addition to her love of boxing, Jesselyn loves books. Her favorite series is Diary of a Whimpy Kid. Jesselyn always dreamed of becoming an author, and her dream came true after writing her book My Corner of the Ring which is about her experiences boxing.
In her spare time, Jesselyn also loves spending time with her family and creating art. Jesselyn shares a very close bond with her father Pedro Silvia and her younger siblings, who are always by her side. Jesselyn is also faith-driven and believes that with the help of God and her family, she can get through anything.
Because of Jesselyn’s hard work and dedication, she’s been successful both inside and outside of the ring as she excelled in school on the honor roll. Now that she is receiving treatment for her brain cancer diagnosis, Jesselyn has been able to homeschool, giving her the flexibility to fight for her life while keeping up with her goals.
Over her 16th birthday, Jesselyn underwent a 6-hour neuro procedure to remove a small part of her tumor. Following a three-week hospital stay for that procedure, Jesselyn underwent radiation treatment in Harlem, NY. Jesselyn has recovered from her surgeries and her radiation is over. She still has a long way to go, but in the meantime, she is being supported by the boxing community in her fight against DMG.
Jesselyn was honored last month at the Gleason’s Gym before World Champion Gervonta Davis’s fight last month where many fighters recognized her and called her champ.
Last weekend, Jesselyn joined boxing Champ Edgar Berlanga in the ring at his fight at MSG after being awarded an honorary championship belt by the WBO at Top Rank’s press conference, thanks to Darlene Rodriguez, a Board of Directors for the Cristian Rivera Foundation.
The Cristian Rivera Foundation supports medical facilities that conduct innovative research and clinical trials, increases public awareness for DIPG, and provides financial support to families and warriors affected by DIPG, like Jesselyn Silvia.
The Cristian Rivera Foundation has also donated more than $2 million to doctors and families of DIPG patients. This foundation takes pride in what they do, but in order to continue this amazing work, they need your help.
On Saturday, June 18th, hundreds of supporters will participate in the 5th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Full Steam Ahead 5K, one of the several fundraising events hosted by CRF to help their mission of curing DIPG. By hopping aboard, you can help the 200-300 children who are diagnosed with DIPG each year.
This year’s 5K is dedicated in part to Jesselyn, who is in need of funding for further treatment.
The Cristian Rivera Foundations Chairman of the Board, Melinda Colon Cox explains why the 5th Full Steam Ahead 5K is so important for this foundation and for their warriors. She says, “This year’s walk is so important for many reasons. First, we have to save the lives of our DIPG warriors, and especially our newest warrior, Jesselyn. She’s living with this horrible disease and so desperately needs to get into the clinical trial in Seattle. I always say this, but no child should ever feel hopeless, and what CRF is doing through the 5K and through its mission is giving kids like Jesselyn the hope and the support she needs.”
We also spoke with Rena Kliot, the Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Executive Board Member, who said, “Every child obviously needs to have the opportunity to be saved. Jesselyn had such a promising future, as all children do. She was on a path to absolute stardom, and this is cutting her off so early. It’s just so unfair. We are focusing on all of our children, but it just hit Jesselyn so aggressively, so we have to focus on getting her through the trials.”
The event will be hosted once again at Van Cortland Park, between 246 and 251 Broadway, in Bronx, NY. With registration starting at 8:30 am, the Cristian Rivera Foundation is excited for the difference every participant will make in supporting their mission to find a cure for DIPG.
You can register today for the Cristian Rivera Foundations 5th Annual Full Steam Ahead 5K this Saturday, June 18, 2022, here.
Virtual registration is also open for anyone wanting to join outside of the New York area. Online registration is open until the night before the walk, or you can register the morning of the event.
Even if you aren’t able to walk, consider donating to this amazing cause. Though the walk is this Saturday, you can still make donations throughout the month. With your help, the Cristian Rivera Foundation seeks to find a cure for DIPG so they can help their warriors like Jesselyn Silva in the biggest fight of their life.
Full Steam Ahead!!!