GLOBAL DOWN SYNDROME FOUNDATION

Denver

News: Six members of the “Grey’s Anatomy” cast and award-winning actress Christina Ricci were among the celebrities taking part in the 14th Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, which raised $2.2 million for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) and its life-changing and life-saving research and medical care for those living with Down syndrome.

The event chaired by model/actress Amanda Booth took place Nov. 12 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel and was attended by over 1,400 guests from 18 states and six countries.

Booth’s son, 8-year-old Micah, has Down syndrome and was named the 2022 GLOBAL Ambassador.

Eric Dane, who starred as Dr. Mark Sloan in 138 episodes of “Gray’s Anatomy” and as Cal Jacobs on “Euphoria,” was there to accept the 2022 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. A second Quincy Jones Award went to David Egan, a multi-sport Special Olympics athlete, author and self-advocate. Egan, who has Down syndrome, in 2015 became the first person with an intellectual disability to be chosen as the Joseph P. Kennedy Public Policy Fellow.

Egan commended GLOBAL for its understanding the importance of inclusion. “GLOBAL understands our condition and promotes the quality of our lives. Let us make sure that we are not guided by the myth of limitations, but rather open to possibilities and abilities. We have come far but still have far to go.”

Dane became acquainted with GLOBAL through his friendship with Caterina Scorsone (Dr. Amelia Shepherd on “Gray’s Anatomy”), whose daughter, Pippa, has Down syndrome. She was the 2020 recipient of the Quincy Jones Award.

“It means so much to me that so many of my ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ family would come all the way to Denver to support this event, to educate themselves and spread the word about the importance of advocating for the foundation’s cause.”

In accepting his award, Dane praised GLOBAL’s president and chief executive officer Michelle Sie Whitten for all she and her team have done in advancing awareness of and funding for Down syndrome.

“I am so amazed by how they managed to quadruple government funding for Down syndrome research in 10 short years. Imagine the impact this funding will have not only on people with Down syndrome, but to all of us. Even if you don’t know a person with Down syndrome, you likely know someone affected by Alzheimer’s disease or cancer,” conditions that are prevalent in people with Down syndrome.

Whitten and her husband, Tom, are the parents of Sophia, a 19-year-old freshman at Regis University, who has Down syndrome. Michelle and her parents, Starz founder John J. Sie and his wife, Anna Sie, founded GLOBAL following Sophia’s birth.

The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show is the world’s largest fundraiser for Down syndrome and to date has raised a cumulative $26 million.

Actress/investor Brooklyn Decker also was there, explaining that the cause is near and dear to her heart because of an aunt who is differently abled. “What GLOBAL is doing is incredible,” she said. “As the biggest research center in the world for individuals with Down syndrome, they’re leading the conversation surrounding the importance of inclusion of the differently abled community.”

The event’s VIP guests also included:

  • “Grey’s Anatomy” cast members ER Fightmaster, Alexis Floyd, Midori Francis, Anthony Hill and Niko Terho
  • Actor John C. McGinley, formerly of “Scrubs”
  • Zack Gottsagen, a barrier-breaking actor with Down syndrome whose personal story was the inspiration for his role in “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
  • Sheree J. Wilson, who has starred in the TV shows “Dallas” and “Walker, Texas Ranger”
  • Ryan Spillborghs, former outfielder for the Colorado Rockies
  • Gyasi Zardes, forward for the Colorado Rapids
  • U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
  • 9News anchors Kim Christiansen and Tom Green, the evening’s emcees

About the organization: The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is the largest nonprofit in the U.S. working to save lives and improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. It has donated some $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute that supports over 400 scientists and 2,200 patients from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and care. Its affiliates include the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center, all on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

Website: globaldownsyndrome.org

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