No Laughing Matter Gala (5)

The room was filled with laughter infused by hope on Tuesday night, as the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation hosted “No Laughing Matter,” a night of comedy to benefit the Children’s Brain Tumor Project (CBTP) at the Weill Cornell Medicine Pediatric Brain and Spine Center.

No Laughing Matter Gala (2) No Laughing Matter Gala (7)

Three-time Grammy-nominated comedian Jim Gaffigan performed along with some of the nation’s funniest names in comedy today – plus a touching youth performance by the original “Comedy Kids™” Max Chwatko and Alex Travin. The inaugural event was held at Carolines on Broadway and raised $450,000 to benefit the groundbreaking research of Dr. Mark Souweidane and Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, co-founders of the CBTP.

Performances included Master of Ceremonies Michael Dean Ester, Ali Wentworth, Kevin McCaffrey, Kendall Ketchum, Erik Bergstrom, Jessica Kirson, Damien Lemon, Ryan Hamilton and Jim Gaffigan, all of whom so generously donated their time and talent to support the cause.

No Laughing Matter Gala (10) No Laughing Matter Gala (11)

“We are so grateful to the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation, the dinner committee, the performers, the honorees, the sponsors and the volunteer staff who made this event such a tremendous success. We were humbled to be the beneficiary of such a large event, and we were completely blown away by the generous support from the people in the room,” said Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield.

The purpose of the event was to raise much-needed research funding for rare and inoperable tumors while honoring the brave children and families who have been impacted by a pediatric brain tumor diagnosis.

No Laughing Matter Gala (14)

In addition to side-splitting comedy, the evening included an award presentation to honorees Max Chwatko and Alex Travin, creators of Comedy Kids™ followed by their side-splitting performance, and John Rivera, founder of the Cristian Rivera Foundation. Max and Alex received the “Good Humor” award for inspiring youth to get involved in philanthropy through comedy. Max and Alex first started telling jokes to raise money when Max’s sister, Scarlett, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. To date, Max and Alex have raised almost $50,000 for pediatric brain cancer research; they were honored by the NY Yankees during HOPE Week, headlined their own fourth-grade graduation, and inspired Comedy Kids™ nationwide to start their own fundraising campaigns.

No Laughing Matter Gala (8)

Award winner John “Gungie” Rivera received a special award to demonstrate how unstoppable a parent can be when fighting for their child. Rivera lost his son, Cristian, to an incurable brain tumor called DIPG in 2009, and has worked tirelessly to support research at the Weill Cornell Medicine Children’s Brain Tumor ever since. He has raised more than $800,000 and he keeps going and going.
“No Laughing Matter” was generously sponsored by Tory Burch, DDB Health, Freds at Barneys, Juniors Cheesecake,
Rivkin Radler and Slate Technology Inc.

No Laughing Matter Gala (1)

About the Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation

The Children’s Brain Tumor Family Foundation is a volunteer based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding research for rare and inoperable brain tumors. 100% of the funds raised support the Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell. The CBTFF was built by families who have been united by tragedy.

Recap and photos via Weill Cornell Medicine