Global Down Syndrome Foundation Raises Crucial Awareness + $2.5 Million at Annual “Beautiful Be Yourself” Fashion Show

On Saturday, November 2nd, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Global, raised a record breaking $2.5 million at their Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Denver. Now, in its 11th year, Global’s marquee event is the largest fundraiser for Down Syndrome in the world and has raised a cumulative $20 million.

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At the beginning of the night, music icon and legend Quincy Jones, award-winning actors Jamie Foxx, Henry Winkler, Laura Linney, Eric Dane, and John C. McGinley, NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, Colorado Rapids player Kellyn Acosta, R&B musicians Shamari and Ronnie DeVoe, Instagram influencer Mikaela Hoover, and Global Ambassador DeOndra Dixon hit the red carpet while highlighting the alarming disparity of federal Down syndrome research funding.

“The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show is important for many reasons,” said Laura Linney. “Events like this call so much needed attention to the research and medical care needed for the Down syndrome community, and that’s why I’m here tonight to support this wonderful cause.”

Later in the evening, 2019 Global Ambassador Charlotte Fonfara-LaRose, Miss Colorado Monica Thompson, and Denver Broncos cheerleaders Jozie, McKenna, and Alexandriajoined the line- up and rocked the runway, which featured 22 brilliant models who happen to have Down syndrome. Two models, Letizia Napoleone andAngelina Magdalene hailed all the way from England and India respectively.

Global was honored to have Quincy Jones in person to help present his namesake awards, theQuincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Awards (Q-Award), to supermodel Amanda Booth and TV star and entrepreneur Megan Bomgaars. Booth, who is also a mother to Micah who happens to have Down syndrome, said “How fortunate am I to have been given such an incredible platform to have my thoughts be heard, and to have my work be validated and recognized. That’s really all I am hoping for, by showing up with my son and demanding that he be on the covers of magazines, and star in commercials. If Down syndrome is recognizable, then it will be familiar, and when something is familiar it is welcome.”

“This year was a banner year for Global,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of the Global. “With support from our Congressional Champions and leadership at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we have successfully advocated for a near-tripling of the federal government’s research budget benefitting people with Down syndrome. We are serving over 1,800 pediatric patients from 28 states and 10 countries, while also working on adult care. We are also proud that thefilm starring our Q-Award winner Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon, which we executive produced, is now getting Oscar buzz!”

Dr. Joaquín Espinosa, Executive Director of the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome on the Anschutz Medical Campus, was also effusive, “We are grateful for NIH’s support of our research, allowing us to understand trisomy 21 in much greater detail and to conduct clinical trials of potential treatments for comorbidities in Down syndrome. Global’s partnership and Michelle Sie Whitten’s leadership have been instrumental in securing funding for Down syndrome research that will undoubtedly lead to better health outcomes in people with trisomy 21.”

Global President and CEO Michelle Sie Whitten and her husband Tom Whitten proudly served as the 2019 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show chairs. Past event chairs include Kacey Bingham and Brittany Bowlen, Peter Kudla, Anna and John J. Sie, Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake, Ricki Rest, and Nancy Sevo. Other notables in attendance included past Global Ambassadors Chase Turner Perry, Sophia Kay Whitten, Louis Rotella IV, Markus Sikora, and Clarissa Capuano; and past Q-Award winner Tim Harris.

Proceeds from Global’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show help underwrite life-changing and life-saving research and medical care at Global’s affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center, both at the Anschutz Medical Campus, and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. The fashion show would not be possible without the generosity of Global’s Leadership circle, sponsors, Ambassadors, Q-Awardees, models, Down syndrome partner organizations, celebrities, self- advocates and families.


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