Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fashion show puts spotlight on amazing children

It's a star studded event. The energy is electric. The crowd always goes wild.
There are members of Congress, Senators, famous athletes and television personalities.
But nothing or no one is more beautiful than the models.
Each of them struts down that runway, wearing the fashion designer's most exquisite piece.
They wave to the crowd, flash a smile, blow a kiss, take a bow and even twirl underneath the spotlights.
These models are proud, they are confident... and they have Down syndrome.
I can't even begin to tell you what joy this gala brings me. As the emcee of the "Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show" in Washington, D.C., I am honored to say that this is the single largest annual fundraiser benefiting people with Down syndrome.
I have volunteered with Special Olympics for more than 20 years, I have co-workers and friends with children who have Down syndrome and I never realized that, according to the National Institute of Health, it is the least-funded genetic condition in the United States. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation was formed with the goal to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome through advocacy, research, medical care and education. Foundation supporters work to empower governments, educational organizations and communities around the country to affect legislative and social changes so that every person with Down syndrome has an equal chance at a fulfilling life.
As a journalist and as a parent, I need to be an advocate. If you have never been touched by a child who has Downs, let me tell you... their compassion, their love, their ability to see joy within every obstacle will not only humble you, but challenge you to be a better human being.
Check out the video above on the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and our fabulous fashion show fundraiser.
I hope you'll support GDSF and share this article to help spread the word.
As Co-Founder and Executive Director Michelle Sie Whitten said so eloquently:
"I come from a somewhat over-achieving family. I don’t know for sure, but I believe that if my daughter had been born typically, I might have put her and her younger brother on a similar track: focusing more on achievement than quality of life. I honestly believe that having a child who is differently-abled has made me an infinitely better parent – one who is clued into my child’s needs, strengths, motivators, and self-esteem. I enjoy every minute with both of my children! And now I really have patience for all children. What an amazing gift."
An amazing gift indeed.

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