Heidi, Gertie and Nick Munholland
Bob Beauprez and Edie Marks. Photos by Glory Weisberg
By Glory Weisberg
Research into Down syndrome is the least federal government-funded genetic condition. But thanks to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, that gap is poised to shrink and at the foundation’s Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Fashion Show, Foundation Founder Michelle Sie Whitten announced that the National Institutes of Health is now giving $5 million for research at the Anschutz Medical Campus Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome.
That infusion is also going into studies on Alzheimer’s disease because many people with Down syndrome are also being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, beyond the average prevalence of other populations. Perhaps call it a brain piggyback, and about half the people with this syndrome are often also born with heart malfunctions. Only one extra chromosome in the brain triggers these medical maladies and we need to know why.
The ballroom of the Sheraton Denver Downtown was at capacity, sold out to the walls for this benefit, attracting corporate donors as well as private table buyers.
Villager 2007 Woman of the Year Sharon Magness Blake and her husband, former Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake, chaired the Fashion Show, which was stunning.
A slew of celebrities walked the red carpet, including TV Emmy winner Alec Baldwin, pro golfer David Duval, Oscar and Grammy winner Jamie Foxx, Laura Dern, Brandon McManus, Steven Dulcie and DeOndra Dixon, Foxx’s sister. Supermodel Beverly Johnson was honored with the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. Also receiving that award was Brad Hennefer, a 25-year-old self-advocate and namesake of the Brad Hennefer Golf for Life Foundation.
Whitten’s parents, John and Anna Sie founded the Anna and John S. Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Mrs. Sie’s been fighting her own recent medical battle with a stage-four cancer, which is now in remission. Instead of flying to perhaps better known medical centers outside Colorado, she decided to be treated at the Anschutz Medical Campus, a brave and intelligent decision.
Edie Marks chaired the benefit live auction and others on the committee included Polly Gleichenhaus, Peter Kudla, Brook Griese, Dominic Capuano, Mike Fries, Cindy Farber, Susan Karsh, Kelly Kennedy, Linda Lynch, kickoff chairs Kay Burke and Maureen Cannon, Jamie Angelich, Majid Anshouri and many others.
The honorary committee included Tom and Ashley Arnold, Chauncey and Piper Billups, Ed and Lisa McCaffrey, Tim Shriver, Debbi and Lee Alpert, Pat and Annabel Bowlen, Sunny and Norm Brownstein, Deidra, George and Annette Dixon For more information, visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org.
Pro-golfer, David Duval
Pat Robinson and Casey Kemp
Liz Muehl with Monique and Angie Velasco
Peter Kudla with Lori and Frank Visciano
John and Anna Sie, Anna and John S. Sie Center for Down Syndrome founders. File photo by Glory Weisberg
Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake
Jim and Kay Burke
Cory Gardner and Alice Foster
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