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Global Down Syndrome Foundation and Local Down Syndrome Affiliates Help Ensure A Big Opening Weekend Triggering 1,000 Screen Expansion

Global Celeb Lineup Amanda Booth, Charlotte Fonfara-LaRose, Mikaela Hoover, Megan Bomgaars

Press Contacts:
Rejena Carmichaelrcarmichael@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (240) 603-5494
Anca Callacall@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (720) 320-3832

Denver, CO (September 18, 2019) – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (“Global”) announced supermodel and actress Amanda Booth and TV star and entrepreneur Megan Bomgaars will receive Global’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award (“Q Award”), as well as its initial celebrity lineup for the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. The marquee event is the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world, raising over $18 million for life-saving and life-changing research and medical care to date. An estimated fourteen hundred attendees including models with Down syndrome, Hollywood and sports celebrities, philanthropists, and government officials will head to the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place in Denver on Saturday, November 2.

Booth has worked on fashion editorials and advertising campaigns for Harper’s Bazaar US and Australia, Glamour Magazine UK, Elle, Anthropologie and more. Booth uses her fashion platform in top publications and on social media to support Global’s important work and to share her journey of parenting a beautiful son who happens to have Down syndrome. Recently, Booth and her son appeared on the cover of Vogue Living Netherlands, making Micah the first person with Down syndrome to be featured on a Vogue magazine cover.

Bomgaars, a woman with Down syndrome herself, regularly represents Global at conferences and events, including this year’s Trisomy 21 Research Society International Conference in Barcelona, Spain and the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An inspiration to everyone to follow their dreams, the 26-year-old has starred in the four-time Emmy Award-winning television series Born this Way, was selected by the White House to attend former first lady Michelle Obama’s Beating the Odds summit, and has developed a clothing line and a makeup line with Sanrio’s “Hello Kitty” and ArtPop Cosmetics respectively.

Other confirmed celebrities for the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show include: Music Legend and inspiration behind the Q Award, Quincy Jones, Global board member and award-winning actor John C. McGinley, award-winning actor Eric Dane, supermodel and Instagram influencer Mikaela Hoover and award-winning actor from the breakout indie film The Peanut Butter Falcon, Zack Gottsagen. A full roster of celebrities will be announced in the coming weeks.

During the fashion show, 23 brilliant and beautiful models with Down syndrome will rock the runway. The event will also honor the 2019 Global Ambassador Charlotte Fonfara-LaRose, while celebrating the return of past Ambassadors and Q-Award winners: DeOndra Dixon, Zack Gottsagen, and Clarissa Capuano.

“We are proud of our accomplishments and we are deeply grateful for the support we receive from our amazing families, congressional champions, the National Institutes of Health, and professionals who empower us to save and transform the lives of people with Down syndrome every day,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President, CEO and Co-Founder of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “The proceeds from this spectacular event help fund over 200 scientists working on elongating life, and a dream team of medical professionals providing excellent medical care to over 1,700 patients from 28 states and 10 countries.”

Global’s advocacy and lobbying efforts with Congress and outreach to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have resulted in an unprecedented increase of the Down syndrome research budget, from $27 million in 2016 to an estimated $77 million in 2019.

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Established in 2009, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global is part of a network of affiliates who work together to deliver on our mission, supporting hundreds of scientists and medical care professionals. Our affiliates include the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a new pilot Adult Clinic. For more information, visit globaldownsyndrome.org and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter @GDSFoundation, Instagram @globaldownsyndrome).

Global Down Syndrome Foundation and Local Down Syndrome Affiliates Help Ensure A Big Opening Weekend Triggering 1,000 Screen Expansion

Left Photo: Global invites its members to a private screening of The Peanut Butter Falcon at the Sie Film Center. (L-R): Mac Macsovits, Tyler Nilson, Hanna Atkinson, Michelle Sie Whitten, Connor Long, and Michael Schwartz. Right Photo: The crew is all smiles after winning the “Audience Award” at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. (L-R): Michael Schwartz, Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf, Tyler Nilson

Press Contacts:
Rejena Carmichaelrcarmichael@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (240) 603-5494
Anca Callacall@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (720) 320-3832

Denver, CO (August 29, 2019) – Armory Films and The Roadside Attractions took a chance on The Peanut Butter Falcon, an indie film featuring an actor with Down syndrome – and now it is paying dividends. Despite having a limited 17-screen debut, the break-out film was the highest grossing film per-theater amongst all opening films in early August, and has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global), an executive producer of the film, worked with its local Down syndrome affiliates in 15 states to help ensure a strong opening weekend that in turn would trigger a nationwide release to 1,000 screens.

Global activated its base of thousands of members, local and national Down syndrome organizations, medical professionals, self-advocate families, and Hollywood celebrities to help promote the film and drive ticket sales. Global marketed the film on social media sparking millions of likes and through ticket promotions with its member organizations. Global also co-sponsored and co-organized tickets and events with Arc Thrift, Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action, Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Winston-Salem, Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, Down Syndrome Association of Tampa Bay, Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound, Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida, Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas, Down Syndrome Network of Arizona, Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County, Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, Mi Work Matters, National Down Syndrome Congress, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, and Triangle Down Syndrome Network. In some cities, the events were so popular there were long lines outside theaters.

Additional marketing efforts from Global included underwriting grants for theater tickets and concessions, organizing raffles for complimentary movie tickets, securing press at premiere and screening events, and creating collateral for the community to share through email and social media.

“I was worried because we only had five days lead time to market the film,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “But in every city where we partnered with our strong local member organizations, we literally sold the entire theater out within one or two hours. There’s a reason this film has amazing reviews in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times. The writing, the directing, the acting – it has it all – and everyone should go see this film!”

The making of The Peanut Butter Falcon started with an ambitious aspiring actor, Zack Gottsagen, and two talented filmmakers, Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, willing to take risks. Nilson and Schwartz wrote the script specifically for Zack and initially faced difficulty pitching the idea to producers. “We were rejected by lots of places because we wouldn’t cast a more famous actor without a disability as the lead,” Nilson recalls. “But Zack could play the role better than anyone else, not just because he has Down syndrome himself, but because he’s also an incredible actor.” When Armory Films heard their concept, they loved it right away and along with their partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, were able to help recruit notable stars LaBeouf and Johnson.

Armory Films, the production company, and The Roadside Attractions, the distributor, hosted over 100 private screening events in more than 50 different U.S cities. The A-list cast members attended several of these events for meet-and-greets and private Q&A sessions with the audience.

“We are so grateful to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation for providing us important feedback and for going above and beyond for The Peanut Butter Falcon’s opening weekend,” said Schwartz. “Last year we had the privilege of attending Global’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show where they honored Zack as their Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award Winner. We hope this film not only helps level the playing field for people with Down syndrome but also draws attention to Global’s great work.”

Moving performances by Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and Zack Gottsagen led to awards at SXSW and other film festivals. At a recent event surrounded by media, Zack explained his newfound success, “I want to show people that no matter who you are, if you follow your heart, you can do whatever you want with your life.”

To learn more about the film and to go see it in theaters, visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org/peanut-butter-falcon

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Established in 2009, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global is part of a network of affiliates who work together to deliver on our mission, supporting hundreds of scientists and medical care professionals. Our affiliates include the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a new pilot Adult Clinic. For more information, visit globaldownsyndrome.org and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter @GDSFoundation, Instagram @globaldownsyndrome).

Global is outraged!

Macy Lace, a nine-year-old girl with Down syndrome who is immobile, has been denied a walking frame from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. This denial left Macy unable to do physiotherapy for 18 months after intensive hip surgery, which her mother says reverses any progress she had been making to walk.

Macy was able to obtain a walking frame a local education service, but it can only be used during school hours. Her doctors say that if she uses her walking frame at home and at school, she can quickly develop the strength to walk.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation works hard every day to ensure Down syndrome research gets its share of funding for our children and adults to receive proper medical care. Discrimination against one person with Down syndrome is discrimination against all people with Down syndrome.

Protected: 2019 PBF Exclusive Screenings

August 1st, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

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2019 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show Kick-Off Party

July 30th, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Global Webinar Series – Summer 2019 Recap

July 23rd, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

SUMMER 2019

Self-Advocates Win Landmark Federal Funding for Research: Join Global – Join the Movement


What You Need to Know


Overview & Speakers:

This webinar reviews how the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) has worked with Self-Advocates, Congressional Champions, Scientists and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase Down syndrome research funding at the NIH for the first time in nearly twenty years. Key takeaways from this presentation include:

The importance of research and medical care in elongating life and improving the quality of life

The history of Down syndrome being one of the least funded genetic conditions at the NIH

Global’s AMAZING progress – science and NIH funding

The Challenges still ahead

What Self-Advocates and families can do to support life-changing and life-saving research and medical care for people with Down syndrome

Michelle Sie Whitten, MA

Michelle Sie Whitten, MA

Michelle Sie Whitten, MA is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global). Global is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through Research, Medical Care, Education, and Advocacy. Prior to her career in the non-profit sector, Michelle was a cable TV pioneer in East Asia working for Liberty Media Corporation and Starz Encore. Her academic career was focused on international security and diplomacy and she holds a Masters degree and business certificate from Harvard University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree from Tufts University and studied Mandarin Chinese and Women Studies at Peking University. Michelle is married to Tom, a British curator of Chinese contemporary art and they have two adorable kids, one of whom has Down syndrome.
Kevin Brennan

Kevin Brennan

Kevin Brennan partners with clients to craft and execute strategies involving public policy and government advocacy, with a particular focus on the health and biosciences, renewable energy, insurance and financial services, and food and agribusiness industries. Kevin draws from his experience as legislative staff for three Members of Congress and in senior government affairs positions at Amgen and the Arthritis Foundation to help clients advance their federal advocacy objectives.


Key Takeaways:


Powerpoint Presentation: Click to Download


Questions & Answers:

Howard, a parent in Aachen, Germany:

1. Great news about the NIH funding! But what’s the state-of-play in other countries? How are you advocating for DS overseas to achieve similar success at the global level?

Right now, our advocacy for NIH research funding is solely focused in the U.S. although we are aware of and encourage research support around the world.

Cassie, a parent in Estes Park, CO:

2. How can we stay up-to-date on what is happening in DC concerning Down syndrome funding and research?

Global hosts periodic webinars and provides web and email-based updates to self-advocates, families and friends on our progress in advocating for increases in federal funding for research including sample letters and materials to use in your communications to your Representatives and Senators.

Darcee, a caregiver in Belvidere, IL:

3. What is the best way to get started in trying to get your voice heard as an individual?

There are many ways to get started. Right now you can email your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support increased funding for the INCLUDE Initiative and Down syndrome research as part of the National Institutes of Health Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Additionally you can plan a visit to Washington to meet with your Senators, Representatives and their staff to educate them on Down syndrome and advocate for increased research funding.

Mirela, an organizational member in Tirana, Albania:

4. How Global support the families and people with Down syndrome in increasing their capacity to advocate (training, grants for local advocating organizations, parents network?

Global supports families by hosting trainings and educational opportunities such as our Quarterly Webinar Series, Annual Research and Medical Care Roundtable, and by providing Educational Grants to local Down syndrome organizations around the world to support education, training and advocacy work.

5. Does Global use the influence of the private sector (business) to advocate or allocate funds? Or international funding?

Global meets with many private sector businesses and continues to advocate for people with Down syndrome to further employment opportunities, to include in clinical research trials, to expand access to the entirely differently-abled community etc. We also work with other countries by awarding grants to host educational workshops and help influence private sectors in their specific countries.


Important Notice

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your medical professional or attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute a doctor-patient or attorney-client relationship between you  and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global), or any employee of, or other person associated with, Global.

Information received from Global’s employees or volunteers, or from this website, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a medical professional or lawyer. Globaldownsyndrome.org DOES NOT provide any medical or legal advice. You should consult with your own doctor or lawyer for medical or legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this website is general information and should not be construed as medical advice to be applied to any specific factual situations.

Global Receives Prestigious President’s Award

June 29th, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation


Left to Right: Dr. Vellody and his brother Das present Dr. Joaquin Espinosa with 2019 President’s Award

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation was honored to accept the prestigious President’s Award at the 2019 NDSC Annual Convention. Presented at the Annual Convention Opening Session, Global was awarded for their dedication to Down syndrome research, their unprecedented advocacy work, and their tremendous positive impact on the Down syndrome community. Global’s longstanding relationship with the National Down Syndrome Congress will continue to flourish and together, they will work to improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.

GLOBAL DOWN SYNDROME FOUNDATION AWARDS OVER $625K IN EDUCATIONAL GRANTS

June 27th, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Awardees Announced at the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention Include Twelve Organizations from the US and Abroad

Press Contacts:
Rejena Carmichaelrcarmichael@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (240) 603-5494
Anca Callacall@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (720) 320-3832

Pittsburgh, PA (June 27, 2019) – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) awarded $75,000 to twelve of its member organizations, bringing the total given through its Educational Grants program to over $625K. Since 2012, Global has awarded grants to 72 innovative educational programs developed by local, national and international Down syndrome organizations. This year’s grants will fund programs in Alaska, Honduras, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. The grant awards were announced at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Research & Medical Care Roundtable during the NDSC Annual Convention, which attracted nearly 4,000 attendees in Pittsburgh, PA.

“We are so inspired by the efforts of Down syndrome organizations all over the world working to make a difference in their communities,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of Global. “Global is proud to say that in just 8 years, our Educational Grant program has helped serve over 14,000 self-advocates, parents, caregivers, and professionals. We are thrilled to be able to fund the most grants ever in one cycle this year, and we are excited to see these extraordinary programs in action.”

The 2019 Global Educational Grant recipients and their funded programs are (in alphabetical order):

1. Alaska Down Syndrome Network (Anchorage, AK) “Alaska Regional Conference” will bring families from rural and small towns to Anchorage for a weekend conference to gain more knowledge on medical issues, behavioral issues, and education topics as well as connect with other area families.

2. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) “Caring for the Adult with Down Syndrome” will bring medical experts to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Thomas Center for Down Syndrome for Grand Rounds presentations to introduce medical professionals to the newly revised Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome.

3. Down Syndrome Association of Indiana, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN) “Public Policy 101” is a series of live workshops and webinars which will cover a variety of topics related to preparing participants to take action on public policy issues, such as how to contact your local legislator, current issues facing families of children with Down syndrome, and more.

4. Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South (Cordova, TN) “Individual Education Plan (IEP) Coaching/Seminar” will bring educational experts to the Memphis area for a monthly seminar to give parents and teacher the tools and knowledge necessary to have successful IEPs.

5. Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, TN) “Extraordinary Lives Conference” is a one-day conference that will bring in national and regional professionals to share their expertise in the latest research and best practices for helping those with DS through three tracks for educators, caregivers, and self-advocates.

6. Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) “Statewide Learning Conference” is a weekend conference that will inspire and equip parents and individuals with Down syndrome with the most up to date information, research, and best practices in healthcare, inclusive education, community integration, and economic self-sufficiency.

7. Down Syndrome Association of the Valley (Boardman, OH) “Summer Enrichment Program with Aaris Therapy” is a comprehensive weeklong program where participants with Down syndrome will concentrate on effective communication and improving social skills to help build important learning skills in the education process.

8. Green Oaks Education and Support, Inc. (Arlington, TX) “Improving Health and Wellness through Education and Practice” is a two-part program involving an interactive cardio workout for people with Down syndrome to improve their level of physical activity and an educational series for caregivers to promote health in the home.

9. Hearts2Honduras, Inc. (El Progreso, Honduras) “Love and Learn 21 Program” is designed to provide educational opportunities for people with Down syndrome in Honduras. Teachers will partner with participants and their families to create individualized plans in an effort to meet the needs of each student.

10. Inclusion Connections (Olathe, KS) “EmployAbility” provides the educational opportunities and vocational training needed for young adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge required to obtain paying jobs.

11. KIIDS, Inc. (Bellmawr, NJ) “Pathways to Independence” will consist of a series of workshops, each with a specific focus and aligned with the long-term goal of establishing skills and knowledge to enable middle and high school aged people with Down syndrome to successfully navigate the choices, freedoms and challenges that come along with the transition to teen and adulthood and to become as independent as possible.

12. Little Leaf Learning Center, Inc. (Omaha, NE) “Operation School Success” is designed to assist families and children with Down syndrome in their transition from pre-school classes into kindergarten. This includes IEP training, education on rights, legal counselling, and parent to parent discussion groups for parents.

“Global Down Syndrome Foundation has enriched the lives of individuals with Down syndrome of all ages,” said Jim Hudson, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. “In 2015, we received a Global Educational Grant for our academic program for children with Down syndrome ages K-8. This year, we were lucky enough to receive another grant for our program to care for adults with Down syndrome. We are so appreciative to partner with Global on bettering the lives of people with Down syndrome at all stages of their lives.”

“We are honored to receive a grant for our ‘Statewide Learning Conference’ from Global, a true leader in research and medical care for people with Down syndrome” said Sarah Curfman, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota. “We look forward to collaborating with Global on best practices for creating resources for families and educators, plus hosting a successful event.”

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Established in 2009, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global is part of a network of affiliates who work together to deliver on our mission, supporting hundreds of scientists and medical care professionals. Our affiliates include the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a new pilot Adult Clinic. For more information, visit globaldownsyndrome.org and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter @GDSFoundation, Instagram @globaldownsyndrome).

Dare to Play Football & Dare to Cheer Game Day 2019

June 20th, 2019 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

 

GAME DAY
Saturday, June 22nd, 2019
10:30AM – 1:30PM
Valor Christian High School
3775 E Grace Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

Game Day is free and open to the public, so invite your family and friends. No RVSP is necessary, but please arrive early for a good seat. Enjoy complimentary food, beverages, and music at the Celebration Party after the game.

ALSO FEATURING:

Denver Broncos Thunderstruck Skydivers
Miles, the Denver Broncos Mascot
Valor Christian High School PALs, Cheerleaders, & Coaches

 

Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep.Cheri Bustos, and Global Ambassador CC Mullen honored at the AcceptAbility Gala in D.C. with a special performance by Multi-Platinum pop artist Andy Grammer

Press Contacts:
Rejena Carmichaelrcarmichael@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (240) 603-5494
Anca Callacall@globaldownsyndrome.org | C: (720) 320-3832

May 29, Denver, CO – It was standing-room-only at the sold-out annual AcceptAbility Gala, benefitting the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) at the Hilton Washington DC National Mall last week. The evening highlighted the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reversing a twenty-year trend and tripling the research budget benefitting people with Down syndrome. The event raised nearly $350,000 for life-saving and life-changing medical care and research.

“We were thrilled when the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, recently presented an estimate of nearly $80 million for Down syndrome research in FY2019 to the Senate Labor Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Sub-Appropriations Committee,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, Global Down Syndrome Foundation President and CEO. “Dr. Collins is one of our many heroes at the NIH who believes in our science and that the 400,000 American citizens who happen to have Down syndrome are equal under our laws and deserving of so much better. But we still have a long way to go to rebuild the pipeline of Down syndrome research and achieve parity.”

The gala honored Global Ambassador CC Mullen, and recognized Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) with Global’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award (Q-Award).

Three previous Q-Award winners helped ring in the evening. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) provided moving, opening remarks with her 12-year old son who happens to have Down syndrome, Global Ambassador Cole Rodgers, by her side. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the 2019 honorees, underscoring the great contributions that Sen. Blunt and Rep. Bustos have made to the Down syndrome community and all those who are differently-abled.

Global Ambassador CC Mullen is currently battling leukemia and was unable to attend. CC was represented by her parents, Ed and Erin Mullen. Erin’s speech received two standing ovations. “I am a mom of a child who is ten times more likely to get childhood leukemia, among many other diseases and health challenges. This is just one reason why medical research for individuals with Down syndrome is important,” Erin shared. “To work with Global, our congressional champions, and self-advocates on the first-ever Congressional hearing on Down syndrome research was one of the best experiences of our lives. I got to hold CC in my lap, witness a standing ovation for Frank Stephen’s testimony, and later see the results be the first significant increase in Down syndrome research funding in nearly 20 years. My experience with Michelle and the Global team makes me believe without a doubt that things can change and that we can all make a difference.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers agreed, “Michelle and I have been on this journey for 12 years now for Cole, Sophia, and millions of people with Down syndrome. Research about Down syndrome has so much to offer not just those with Down syndrome, but the world. Global and Dr. Espinosa at the Crnic Institute are making sure that everyone understands that we can help cure Alzheimer’s, cancer and so many life-threatening diseases if we invest properly in Down syndrome research.”

Reps. DeLauro and Cole emphasized the successful, bi-partisan effort around Down syndrome research and medical care. Global’s Q Awardees Blunt and Bustos provided an insight into the greater framework within which people with Down syndrome can succeed.

“Global and the Crnic Institute, the Mullen family and all those with Down syndrome, everyone in this room tonight, is taking on a worthy cause and battling for what is right. This battle is truly bipartisan. And only by working together can we make sure that every person with Down syndrome has the resources they need to live a happy, productive, and dignified life. That’s our goal,” said Rep. DeLauro.

“Every American has a special and unique role to play in our communities, and those who face challenges deserve an extra dose of support from their communities. Republican or Democrat, this is something we can all agree on,” said Rep. Cole. “During this year’s AcceptAbility Gala, I am proud that my colleagues Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos were honored for their advocacy on behalf of those Americans in the Down syndrome community. Certainly, this is bipartisan work we can all be proud of.”

“It was a tremendous honor to be a part of this year’s AcceptAbility Gala. In the subcommittee I chair, we have worked together in a bipartisan, bicameral way to boost federal funding for medical research by $9 billion over the past four years,” said Senator Blunt. “I appreciate all that the Global Down Syndrome Foundation does to bring together families, advocates and supporters who are working hard to make sure Down syndrome remains a research priority. An event like this doesn’t just bring awareness, it inspires all of us to make sure differently-abled people are recognized for their achievements and given the opportunity to continue accomplishing great things in their lives.”

“I know a young girl with Down syndrome who was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Clinicians were at a loss as to how to treat her and Dr. Espinosa jumped in to help,” said Rep. Bustos. “We obviously need to understand more about what appropriate care is for people with Down syndrome. We also need to keep pushing important financials vehicles such as the ABLE act. There is so much more we can and should be doing for people with Down syndrome.”

The AcceptAbility Gala was capped off with an inspirational set by The Ransom Notes musical trio from Nashville, and an intimate and heart-felt performance by multi- platinum pop artist, Andy Grammer. The award-winning musician related to the cause immediately and even helped organize two unified dance troupes, RhythmXpress and Devenio, to choreograph dances to his first two certified Gold songs – Good to be Alive and Keep Your Head Up.

Grammer was truly touched by the event, “There are a lot of emotions around this topic, but the real work is getting to DC and getting into the true mechanics of how to create real change. And the Global Down Syndrome foundation is creating real change.”

Chief White House correspondent at Fox News, John Roberts was the gala’s emcee. Honorary Committee members included Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Senators Steve Daines (R- MT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Key sponsors include Kroger, American Express, JMA Solutions, MasterCard, PhRMA, US Travel Association, Visa, Wells Fargo, and the Mullen Family.

To learn more about Global’s AcceptAbility Gala and the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award, visit: https://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/acceptability-gala/

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Established in 2009, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global is part of a network of affiliates who work together to deliver on our mission, supporting hundreds of scientists and medical care professionals. Our affiliates include the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a new pilot Adult Clinic. For more information, visit globaldownsyndrome.org and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter @GDSFoundation, Instagram @globaldownsyndrome).