Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala “A HUGE SUCCESS”!

Alex Sessions at the 2013 Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala
Cole Rodgers at the 2013 Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala
Cathy McMorris Rodgers at the 2013 Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala
Melissa Castellanos at the 2013 Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala
Sheryl Crow at the 2013 Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala

The Washington Informer described the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala as “A HUGE SUCCESS,” and here’s why we agree:

The atmosphere at Global’s Annual DC Gala in the Ritz-Carlton Washington DC was electric as our 25 beautiful models with Down syndrome walked the runway with a host of congressional reps and celebrities. Sheryl Crow got the crowd singing and our models dancing on the stage right next to her! You can check out the photos from the event on our website or purchase photos from our account site. At the end of the night, we raised LOTS of awareness and more than $400,000 to help accomplish Global’s mission to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.

Here is a more detailed recap:

Our Families

There could be no success without our wonderful self-advocates and families. The outpouring of love, gratitude and the desire to help by wanting to do more was so palpable that our staff is doubly committed to research and medical care advocacy work in DC. Our 2013 Ambassador, Cole Rodgers, did a spectacular job as both a model and a role model, and his family was a delight to work with and key to the evening’s success. Thank you Cole!

Congressional Rep Support

We had over 20 congressional representatives attend, and 10 of them escorted our models down the runway. After the event, several representatives whom we did not know personally came up to us and let us know that “disability issues” are their top priorities and they want to meet about funding for Down syndrome. Our honorees Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, Congressman Van Hollen and last year’s honoree Congressman Sessions were SUPERSTARS.


Beautiful celebrities (inside and out) attended, including HLN and Fox News Anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts, supermodel Beverly Johnson, Alex Sessions, and DeOndra Dixon. We were also fortunate to enjoy a performance by Sheryl Crow, who was amazing with our models and so gracious with her photos! Of course we had our own celebs from the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Tom Blumenthal and Hunt Potter. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was kind enough to attend – Ambassador Chris Hill and his wife Julie, and Madeleine’s siblings are fans of ours and have attended all of our DC events so far, so we feel very fortunate.

NIH Support

Several key representatives from the National Institutes of Health attended. They were very supportive of the event, and the following day Global and the Crnic Institute had a meeting with NICHD to discuss several potential scientific collaborations. Thank you NIH!


A huge thanks to our sponsors of this important event. We are new to DC and thankful that so many companies and organizations have embraced us as their own. Thank you, thank you! Please take time to see a full list of our generous sponsors.


The press was fabulous, and the coverage was extensive. Every reporter and editor who attended was blown away by our event and the fact that pretty much everyone stayed for the entire event AND were actually quiet and attentive for the fashion show! Our self-advocates really do shine for themselves! Below is just a fraction of the press. You can click on the links to access the coverage:

Thank you to everyone whose continued and important support of our mission made this and all of events possible, and we hope to see you Saturday, September 28th at our Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show in Denver

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