Campaign to Bring Awareness to the Least Funded Genetic Condition Garners Broad Local Support


 Denver, CO (May 4, 2010) – The Global Down Syndrome Foundation, in conjunction with Denver Options, The Children’s Hospital and other local partners, is hosting internationally renowned pediatrician Dr. H. Len Leshin, M.D., F.A.A.P., in Denver on Saturday, May 8, at the Denver Marriott-Tech Center. Dr. Leshin will present his lecture, Promoting Optimal Wellness and Development in Children with Down Syndrome to over 200 professionals and parents.

The presentation is part of the Down Syndrome Educational Fund Symposium Series. Since its inception in 2006, the symposium series has hosted renowned speakers from across the US and the UK to increase public knowledge about Down syndrome.

“This symposium series is part of a larger campaign to bring awareness to Down syndrome as one of the least understood and least funded genetic conditions in the United States,” stated Michelle Whitten, Executive Director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “We are pleased Dr. Leshin can provide invaluable information to professionals and parents alike so that our children with Down syndrome can better reach their potential.”

Whitten secured funding for the Down Syndrome Educational Fund, successfully raising over one million dollars three years ago. “The funding allows us to provide Christian Ransom Ball Scholarships to those who can’t afford to attend and to provide simultaneous Spanish translation during the presentation,” Whitten explained.

Dr. Leshin, a practicing pediatrician for 20 years and the father of a 16-year-old with Down syndrome, created and maintains the foremost website dedicated to clinical research and clinical care, Down Syndrome: Health Issues. The website can be accessed at

Dr. Stephen Block, Executive Director of Denver Options, a non-profit organization that serves people with developmental disabilities, including people with Down syndrome, notes the value of the symposium. “Doctors, therapists and family members have all benefited from past gatherings. When we learn about the latest research and have a chance to ask questions of some of the best known leaders in the field, we can help people with Down syndrome in Colorado achieve new levels of success,” Dr. Block said.

In addition to the symposium at the Denver Marriott-Tech Center on May 8, Dr. Leshin is scheduled to meet in smaller groups with doctors and pediatricians from the Denver area on Thursday, May 6, and Friday, May 7.

Joining the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in supporting the 2010 Down Syndrome Educational Fund Symposium Series are Denver Options and The Children’s Hospital. Advisory members of the symposium series include the ARC of Colorado, the Colorado Springs Down Syndrome Association, the Denver Adult Down Syndrome Clinic, the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, Developmental Pathways, Fisher Early Learning Center, the Mile High Down Syndrome Association, the National Down Syndrome Congress, Peak Parent Center, the Sewall Child Development Center, the Resource Exchange and the Rise School of Denver.

Registration for the presentation on May 8, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch, is only $15 per person or $25 per couple. Scholarships to cover registration costs are available through the Christian Ransom Ball Scholarship Fund. Check-in for the event begins at the Denver Marriott-Tech Center at 8:00 AM; the event begins promptly at 9:00 AM and ends at 4:00 PM.

Because seating is limited, please pre-register by visiting or by calling Denver Options at 303-636-5700.

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The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GDSF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome by supporting basic research, clinical research and clinical care. Established in 2009, GDSF’s primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. The Linda Crnic Institute is the first organization in the US with the mission to eradicate the medical and cognitive ill effects associated with Down syndrome through basic and clinical research and through clinical care. The Linda Crnic Institute incorporates scientific partners both locally and globally, with headquarters at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado.

Denver Options is a non-profit organization that provides flexible, personalized services to help people with intellectual disabilities live active and purposeful lives. The Denver Options staff finds the services and resources people need to achieve optimum health and explore lifelong learning opportunities. They focus on individual talents and interests, helping people turn personal goals into everyday reality. They offer a wide range of services that include helping families manage the demands of care giving and navigate funding resources.

The Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in America by U.S. News and World Report and other publications. The Children’s Hospital is 100% dedicated to kids and their families. From infants to young adults, children’s combines the very best in pediatric medicine with a uniquely kid-friendly environment. Children’s has more than 600 pediatric specialists in more than 47 medical and surgical sub-specialties offering 145 clinics and programs for every health-care need.