Rocking Fashion Runway: Over $2.2 Million Raised for Down Syndrome Research

Global Down Syndrome Foundation raises awareness and funds at marquee annual event

The "Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show" once again drew a large and star-studded crowd to raise awareness and funds for Down syndrome research.

The marquee event, held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, is hosted annually by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. This year's event raised $2.2 million, bringing Global's cumulative total to over $26 million over 14 years of holding the world's largest fund-raiser for Down syndrome.

Locally, the event benefits medical care and research at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children's Hospital Colorado.

"My aunt is differently abled, so this cause is near and dear to my heart," said actress and investor Brooklyn Decker, who joined celebrities including actors Christina Ricci, Eric Dane, John C. McGinley, Alexis Ford, Zack Gottsagen and Sheree J. Wilson. "What Global is doing is incredible. As the biggest research center in the world for individuals with Down syndrome, they're leading the conversation surrounding the importance of the differently abled community."


Actor Christina Ricci, center, walks the fashion runway with models Olivia Martin, left, and Clarissa Capuano.

Later in the evening, a couple of Denver Broncos cheerleaders joined the lineup and rocked the fashion runway, which featured 22 brilliant and beautiful models who happen to have Down syndrome. Two celebrities - David Egan and Eric Dane - received 2022 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Awards.

Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, executive director of the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, leads teams who research and conduct clinical trials that advance understanding of Down syndrome and develop potential treatments for people with Down syndrome.

Global_Joaquin_INSJoaquin Espinosa, PhD, executive director of the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome.

"We cannot say enough good things about the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, which is a partner with the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center. We work together as a network of affiliate organizations, and they fund our work very generously," Espinosa said. "We wouldn't be having these clinical trials, if it were not only for the philanthropic support of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation here at the Crnic Institute, but also the amazing advocacy working in Washington, D.C., which has led to the creation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) INCLUDE project that has quadrupled the investment of NIH in Down syndrome."

Many celebrities return every year for the glamorous gala, which raises proceeds for life-saving research and gives attendees the opportunity to have fun in the spotlight, donning their gowns, tuxedos and an abundance of glitter and sequins.

"What excites me most about this year's 'Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show' is that we're continuing to deliver on our mission by elongating life and improving health outcomes of people with Down syndrome," said Global President and CEO Michelle Sie Whitten.

Photo at top: Actor Sheree J. Wilson walks the runway with David Egan, who received a 2022 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award.

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