Global Down Syndrome Foundation Raises $2.5 Million and Honors Co-Founder Anna Sie at Their Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show
Largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world attracts over 1,400 guests from 16 states and 12 countries, raising funds for life-saving and transformative research and medical care
News provided byGlobal Down Syndrome Foundation
Nov 21, 2023, 12:41 PM ET
DENVER, Nov. 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Saturday, November 18, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) raised $2.5 million at their Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. Now in its 15th year, GLOBAL’s marquee event is the largest fundraiser for Down syndrome in the world, raising a cumulative $28 million since its inception.
The star-studded evening was dedicated to beloved GLOBAL Co-Founder, Anna Sie, who sadly passed away on September 20 after a long and valiant battle with cancer. Anna, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, loyal friend, and mentor is remembered as a generous philanthropist who co-founded GLOBAL, the Crnic Institute, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Alzheimer’s & Cognition Center, the GLOBAL Inclusive Program and so much more. Anna made it her life's mission to ensure her granddaughter, Sophia, and all people with Down syndrome have a brighter future.
“Tonight, as we gather to celebrate the brilliance and beauty of individuals with Down syndrome, we hold my mother, Anna Sie, in our hearts," said Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO. "Her legacy is reflected in every smile on the runway, in every breakthrough in our research, and in the ongoing commitment of GLOBAL to ensure that every individual with Down syndrome is valued and included in society. We are overwhelmed by the continued support that helps us advance our mission, and we vow to continue my mother’s work with the same vigor and love she exemplified.”
To kick off the night, red carpet appearances were made by acclaimed actor and author Rob Lowe; Academy Award-nominated and award-winning actress Laura Linney; award-winning actor John C. McGinley; beloved actress from the longest primetime TV drama on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy, Caterina Scorsone, and her costars Kevin McKidd, Anthony Hill, Alexis Floyd and Jake Borelli; actress and singer Danielle Savre; NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis; model, actress, and entrepreneur Beverly Johnson; actors Max Carver, Kevin Iannucci, Matthew Von der Ahe, and James Day Keith; and model and actress Amanda Booth. Award-winning local NBC anchors Kim Christiansen and Mark Koebrich emceed the event.
Later in the evening, 2023 GLOBAL Ambassador Grace Brennan, Denver Broncos cheerleaders Ariana and Emily, and 2023 Miss CO Volunteer Karlynn Trujillo joined the line-up and rocked the runway, which featured 21 brilliant and beautiful models who happen to have Down syndrome.
The Ambassador and celebrities joined GLOBAL in honoring the 2023 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Awardees Madison Tevlin and Bobby Farrelly. Farrelly, an internationally recognized director known for Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass and more, is a longtime advocate for people who are differently-abled. Earlier this year, Farrelly released the hit movie Champions, a heartfelt comedy that centers around a basketball coach who helms a team of players with intellectual disabilities. The movie stars Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olsen, and Madison Tevlin, a multi-talented model, actor, and self-advocate who has Down syndrome.
Upon receiving her award following an impassioned introduction by Champions co-star Woody Harrelson, Tevlin said: “Being seen as a role model is not something I ever dreamed of, and that’s because I’m just me being me. I encourage everyone to do the same. Thank you so much to GLOBAL for this honor. I will forever cherish this award.”
“This is without question the greatest honor of my life,” said Farrelly in his acceptance speech. “I am profoundly humbled and extremely grateful to be recognized by the Down syndrome community.” Farrelly continued, “I’ve worked with some incredible leading ladies in my day, but I’ve never worked with any actress who lights up the screen quite like Madison Tevlin. She’s beautiful and strong and proud to be who she is. And, as Woody found out, she has a way of stealing every scene she’s in.”
Powerhouse philanthropists Luisa Law and Amanda Precourt proudly served as this year’s Co-Chairs. Past event chairs include Amanda Booth, Lou III and Jill Rotella, Tom and Michelle Whitten, Kacey Bingham and Brittany Bowlen, Peter Kudla, Maureen Regan Cannon, Anna and John J. Sie, Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake, Ricki Rest, and Nancy Sevo.
Auctioneer Grant Snyder led GLOBAL’s most successful cash call in honor of Anna Sie and sold once-in-a-lifetime packages including a Bobby Farrelly red carpet film premiere invite; a golf foursome with NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis; a private dinner with Denver Broncos’ Alex Singleton and two other players; a beautiful painting donated by world-renowned artist William Matthews; a beautiful Hyde Park Jewelers diamond and topaz necklace and earrings modeled by Amanda Booth, and the Selkie dress she was wearing; a luxury Sicily holiday including multiple catered dinners donated by Riccardo Mazzeo and Three Tomatoes Catering; a private plane and Austin FC experience donated by Amanda Precourt, Anthony Precourt/Austin FC; dinner with Denver Nuggets legend Bill Hanzlik at renowned Matsuhisa restaurant donated by Jay Mills; a private sushi and sake dinner at developer and designer Amanda Precourt’s new mixed-use art gallery and home, The Cookie Factory.
Proceeds from GLOBAL’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show help underwrite life-changing and life-saving research and medical care at GLOBAL’s affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Alzheimer’s & Cognition Center, and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado all at the Anschutz Medical Campus. The fashion show would not be possible without the generosity of GLOBAL’s Leadership Circle, sponsors, Ambassadors, Q-Awardees, models, Down syndrome partner organizations, celebrities, self-advocates and families.
To learn more about the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show or to donate, visit bebeautifulbeyourself.org.
To learn more about the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org.
About Global Down Syndrome Foundation:
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,400 patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 110 Down syndrome organizations worldwide, and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include Global Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome, Prenatal & Newborn Down Syndrome Information, and the award-winning magazine Down Syndrome World™. GLOBAL also organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit globaldownsyndrome.org and follow us on social media (Facebook & Twitter: @GDSFoundation, Instagram: @globaldownsyndrome).
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