Archive for September 13th, 2018

Norm Macdonald Apologizes for ‘Unforgivable’ Comment About Down Syndrome

September 13th, 2018 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Beaver Dam nonagenarian becomes children’s author

September 13th, 2018 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Global President & CEO Michelle Sie Whitten Takes a Stand

September 13th, 2018 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

REALLY? Insulting people who are victims of sexual abuse and people who were incensed by crass racist comments wasn’t enough? ANOTHER NETFLIX comedian has to take a swing at people with Down syndrome?

And while the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon did the right thing and CANCELLED Norm Macdonald’s scheduled appearance on it show, NETFLIX is once again supporting the “R” word, disparaging comments about people with Down syndrome, and even social media promoting violence against advocates for people who are differently-abled.

The WILL of the people defending against sexual and abuse and racism was heard. I am counting on those same people to come together for those who are differently-abled and make sure this population also has a STRONG a VOICE. PLEASE. Let us come together and send Netflix a message to CANCEL THIS SHOW! And if they don’t cancel the show, consider cancelling your NETFLIX subscription. For a day, a month, anything that shows power in numbers WHO CARE.

For Norm, glad you apologized. But REALLY? You needed a word for “stupid” and you came up with “Down syndrome”? I call on you to spend a day with a person with Down syndrome and then see if you can’t come up with a better word.

To be clear, at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, we are grateful for the freedoms we have in the US – including freedom of speech. AND YET, we also believe there are words that we are free to use, but as a society choose not to use because they are so directly tied to discrimination against a vulnerable population. What we are asking for is not too much or too difficult. There are lots of depraved topics that are funny (disclosure – I’m half NJ Italian) that don’t lend themselves to discrimination or oppression. So, you can still get that cheap laugh and feel good about yourself.

It’s time to call NETFLIX out. Seriously, AGAIN, we have nothing to lose.

Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO, Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Farrell & Gottsagen to be honored with Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award at the 10th Anniversary Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show celebrating a decade of beauty and achievement

Press Contacts:
Trisha | O: (310) 454-3080
Anca | C: (720) 320-3832

DENVER, CO. – Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 – Today the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) announced film stars Colin Farrell and Zack Gottsagen will receive Global’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award (Q Award), as well as its initial celebrity lineup for the 10th Anniversary of the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. The marquee event is the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world and will be held during Down Syndrome Awareness Month on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place in Denver.

Farrell is an award-winning Irish actor, UN Spokesperson and philanthropist. He has a son with Angelman syndrome and has served as the official games spokesman for the Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai, China. Gottsagen is an accomplished film actor who happens to have Down syndrome. He is an ardent advocate for inclusion and shines in the new adventure film, The Peanut Butter Falcon, co-starring with two of his biggest fans: Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson.

“I love the Sies, let me start there,” said Music Icon Quincy Jones. “When I met their granddaughter, Sophia, I told them ‘these children are not broken, they don’t need to be fixed, they just need to be allowed to reach their God-given potential.’ Ever since then, I have been proud to encourage and support their amazing work. I want to congratulate Global on 10 years of saving lives and recognize Colin and Zack for their dedication and advocacy.”

Other confirmed celebrities for the 10th Anniversary Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show include: award-winning actor and Global board member John C. McGinley; supermodel and actress Amanda Booth; Miss Colorado Ellery Jones; Major League Soccer player Sam Cronin; and past Q Award winner DeOndra Dixon. A full roster of celebrities will be announced in the coming weeks.

During the fashion show, Global will also honor the 2018 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Ambassador Sam Levin while celebrating the return of past Ambassadors: Chase Turner Perry, Sophia Kay Whitten, Katherine Vollbracht Winfiled, Clarissa Capuano, Louis Rotella IV and Marcus Sikora.

Entering its 10th year, Global is thriving. Since the establishment of the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the event has raised over $16 million which underwrites life-changing research and life-saving medical care. Global’s recent lobbying efforts to Congress and outreach to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) resulted in the first significant increase of NIH Down syndrome research funding in nearly 20 years, from $37 million in 2017 to $58 million in 2018. Additionally, Global just opened its new Cherry Creek headquarters, which includes top-notch office facilities and a future education center of excellence supported by a generous grant from The Salah Foundation. The building will be home for people with Down syndrome and their families, as well as a destination for inclusion, inspiration and achievement for everyone.

“We work very hard,” said Global Down Syndrome Foundation President, CEO and Co-Founder, Michelle Sie Whitten. “Global provides excellent medical care to over 1,500 patients from 28 states and 10 countries, has made groundbreaking research discoveries that will improve health outcomes and has successfully lobbied Congress to get our fair share of funding. On our 10th Anniversary, we are filled with gratitude for the outstanding medical professionals, scientists, Down syndrome partner organizations, celebrities and wonderful self-advocates and families who empower us to save and transform lives every day.”

Various levels of 10th Anniversary Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show tickets, table sponsorships and model sponsorships are available, including VIP levels at For more information on the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, please visit

For celebrity interviews, additional information, imagery or to cover the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, please contact


About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is at the forefront of research, medical care, education and advocacy dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome. Global supports the research of hundreds of scientists around the world through their advocates, partners and affiliates, including the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Global invites its supporters to celebrate a decade of milestones in helping people with Down syndrome at their 10th Anniversary Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. To learn more, please visit and