at Hyatt Regency Convention Center benefiting Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Sie Center for Down Syndrome, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at 5 p.m.
Frank Stephens, the 2016 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient put it this way: “people who happen to have Down Syndrome are an unusual source of happiness.”
You can say that again. Every year, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself fashion show demonstrates that the models with Down syndrome, their families, the celebrity escorts….pretty much everyone in the room can’t stop smiling. The models strutted and vamped on the runway with no inhibitions and the crowd clapped and shouted wildly. You rarely see the President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Michelle Sie Whitten, without a 500-watt smile.
True to past years, the event attracted many A-list celebrities, including Jamie Foxx (whose sister DeOndra was one of the models and has been heavily involved in Global for many years), Peyton Manning, Hilary Swank, Queen Latifah, Matt Dillon, model Amanda Booth, Miss Colorado Shannon Patilla, John C McGinley and several local sports stars and Broncos cheerleaders. Bright stars as they are, they all were quickly upstaged by the models, who danced and twirled and soaked up the limelight.
Frank Stephens gave a hilarious speech in accepting his Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award. (He talked about Ashley Manning wanting Peyton to take her on an exotic vacation, but “he only wants to go to Omaha, Omaha, Omaha.”)
Mario Lopez brought his famous dimples to co-emcee with Kim Christiansen this year, and John C McGinley’s daughter Billie Grace showed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in talent as she gave a quick speech.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through Research, Medical care, Education and Advocacy. Formally established in 2009, the Foundation’s primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home in the United States committed solely to research and medical care for people with Down syndrome. Since Down syndrome is the least-funded genetic condition in the United States, fundraising and government advocacy to correct the alarming disparity of national funding for people with Down syndrome is a major goal.
Susan and Eugene Sherman
Rico Nelson, Bella and Rico Jr., Julie Nelson
Louie Rotella Jr. and his wife Kathi
George Dixon and DeOndra Dixon
Teri and KC Lewis
Peyton Manning and Louie Rotella IV, this year’s Global ambassador
The Rotella family with Peyton Manning
Vito and Jennifer Solimene
DeOndra Dixon and Louie Rotella IV
Lana and Joe Turner, left, with Betsy and Dr.Tom Blumenthal, Executive Director of the Linda Crnic Institute
Marco Pappa, left, Shkelzen Gashi, Sam and Samantha Cronin
Susan Vanderploeg, visiting from Canada, left, with her son Andy Irvine (live auction chair), Angela Lieurance and Bret Zungila
Denise Wilson and Susan Vanderploeg (“the Canadian contingent)
Samantha Gruitch, left, Edie Marks and Lori Marks-Connors
Clark Booth and Jan Turner Hering
Melissa and Chuck Cory
Dominic and Carol Capuano
Ralph and Anne Klomp, left, with Robert and Carla Wright
Peyton Manning, left, chats with Queen Latifah and Matt Dillon
Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award: Frank Stephens
Maureen Regan Cannon, fashion show chair; Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake, kick-off party chairs
Erin Ferris Dollarhide, silent auction co-chair; Streeter McClure, silent auction co-chair; Andy Irvine, live auction chair; Tomago Collins, sports chair; John Fiedler, corporate chair; Jay Mills, transportation & hospitality chair; Bridget Abraham, Denise Bellucci, Alison Brennan, Kay Burke, Dominic Capuano, Marilynn Carroll, Soraya Cartwright, Gina Comminello, Joy Dinsdale, Marcel Dorsey, Michelle Fries, Cara George, Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek, Cookie Gold, Sarah Graham, Caroline Grote, Nataliya Hadley, Mark Hadley, Lisa Hawthorne, Julie Hill, Lisa Johnson, Susan Karsh, Briana Kovacs, Peter Kudla, Bonnie Mandarich, Edie Marks, Lori Marks Connors, Jennifer McCall, Cathryn McCloskey, Kyle McClure, Gracie McClure, Debra McKenney, Ellen Mednick, Casey Perry, Jackie Perry, Michael Pollak, Shereen Pollak, Jill Rotella, Louis Rotella III, Carla Shankle, Dan Sharp, Joanne Sherman, Marilyn Spinner, Leslie Vollbracht, Elaine Walshe, Michelle Sie Whitten, Tina Wildes, Judi Wolf
Michelle Sie Whitten
Haute Couture: Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Laura Barton & William Matthews/The Barton Family Foundation, a donor advised fund of the Denver Foundation, The Fries Foundation & Liberty Global, Jules Haimovitz, J. Landis & Sharon Martin Family Foundation, Perky Jerky, Shereen & Michael Pollak, The Rotella Family, The Sturm Family Foundation, Leslie & Bill Vollbracht; Couture: The Anschutz Foundation, Sharon Magness Blake & Ernie Blake, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Cookie Gold, Ricki and David Rest, Peter A. Kudla MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation, The Whitten Family; for additional sponsors, visit the www.bebeautifulbeyourself website
Frisee lettuce salad, pomegranate braised short rib with white cheddar mashed potatoes, glazed Brussel sprouts, chocolate cream & almond crunch Gateaux/Huckleberry cobbler with toasted Quinoa streusel
Nicolas Allen, Danny Barbier, Clarissa Joann Capuano, Chloe Chapman, DeOndra Dixon, Gavin Dubar, Charlotte Fonfara-LaRose, Kayla Gutierrez, Matthew Hayes, Pearl Hogan, Kenlee Grace Karl, Jake Lacle, Sam Levin, Kenleigh McCall, Ava Nelson, Lisa Newtop, Olivia Posthumus, Rebekah Randall, Louis Rotella IV, Alex Shankle, Max Sherman, Marcus Sikora, Frank Stephens, Sara Stephenson, Sarah Wrubel
sponsorships range from $2,500 to $100,000
Bridget Abraham, Denise Bellucci, Alison Brennan, Kay Burke, Dominic Capuano, Marilynn Carroll, Soraya Cartwright, Gina Comminello, Joy Dinsdale, Marcel Dorsey, Michelle Fries, Cara George, Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek, Cookie Gold, Sarah Graham, Caroline Grote, Nataliya Hadley, Mark Hadley, Lisa Hawthorne, Julie Hill, Lisa Johnson, Susan Karsh, Briana Kovacs, Peter Kudla, Bonnie Mandarich, Edie Marks, Lori Marks Connors, Jennifer McCall, Cathryn McCloskey, Kyle McClure, Gracie McClure, Debra McKenney, Casey Perry, Jackie Perry, Michael Pollak, Shereen Pollak, Jill Rotella, Louis Rotella III, Carla Shankle, Dan Sharp, Joanne Sherman, Marilyn Spinner, Leslie Vollbracht, Elaine Walshe, Michelle Sie Whitten, Tina Wildes, Judi Wolf
Board of Directors:
Michelle Sie Whitten, Neil Goff, Mary Beth Wallingford, John C McGinley, G.H. Jay Mills, Ricki Rest, Anna Sie, John Sie, Phil DiStefano, Richard Krugman, Leslie Leinwand PhD, Lilly Marks, James Shmerling