John and Anna Sie founded Global Down Syndrome Foundation in honor of their first-born granddaughter. Photos by Scottie Iverson
The likes of Hilary Swank, Queen Latifah, Matt Dillon, John C. McGinley, Jamie Foxx, actress and model Amanda Booth, former Bronco QB Peyton Manning, the Colorado Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog and Jake Schroeder, the Colorado Rapids’ Sam Cronin and Shkelzen Gashi, the Denver Outlaws’ Eric Law, Miss Colorado Shannon Patilla and co-hosts Mario Lopez and Kim Christiansen of 9News added sparkle and excitement to one of the most enchanting and endearing events in Denver.
The Down syndrome models were beautiful being themselves. 2016 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient Frank Stephens stole the show and received a standing ovation for his heartfelt and humorous speech.
“We should not have to justify the extra chromosome that makes us who we are. I have earned the right to celebrate it and say proudly I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living,” he said.
This year’s annual star-studded sold-out crowd of more than 1,200 raised $2.1 for Global Down Syndrome Foundation and is the single-largest fundraiser benefiting people with Down syndrome. The primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome.
“I’ll know Global’s work is done when we stop the eugenics against people with Down syndrome in other countries and the discrimination we still have in ours,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, president/CEO. “I know my work is done when parents like me can close our eyes and leave this world without fear knowing that our children will be safe, accepted, independent members of society.”
President and CEO of Global Michelle Sie Whitten, Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award winner Frank Stephens, DeOndra Dixon and her big brother Jamie Foxx and his daughter Anelise. Photo courtesy of Global
Whitten praised the work of the organization and touched on the success the foundation has achieved.
“When Global started in 2009, there was almost nothing in the area of Down syndrome research,” she said. “Today, we have over 30 labs and 100 researchers at the Anschutz Medical Campus and at CU Boulder dedicated to science that will benefit people with Down syndrome. And at the Sue Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we are providing excellent medical care for patients from 27 states and seven countries.”
Down syndrome is the least funded major genetic condition by the National Institute of Health, despite being the most frequent chromosome disorder (one in every 691 births in the United States.)
Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. For further information: globaldownsyndrome.org.
First lady Robin and Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Queen Latifah was a fan favorite on the red carpet.
Dana Davis, Shane Hendryson, Anne and Ralph Klomp. Arlene Johnson, and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.
Hilary Swank escorts Max Sherman and Marcus Sikora. Photo courtesy of Global
Former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was on the runway with Ambassador Louie Rotella (Ambassador King Louie IV).Photo courtesy of Global
Emmy-award winning Mario Lopez was co-host along with Kim Christiansen, 9News.Photo courtesy of Global
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