Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chris Van Hollen to Be Honored, Aretha
Franklin to Perform at Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala in Washington, D.C.
Political leaders, celebrities to escort models with Down syndrome in May 8
DENVER -- March 27, 2013
U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Chris Van Hollen will be honored for
their advocacy, the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin will perform, and national
news anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts will help raise awareness at the
Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala on May 8 in
They join other congressional leaders, famous sports personalities and
celebrities who will escort models with Down syndrome in a fashion show that
highlights the abilities and achievements of people with Down syndrome while
raising money for research at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the
first academic home in the U.S. solely committed to research and medical care
for people with the condition.
The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala will be at the Ritz-Carlton Washington,
D.C., 1150 22nd Street N.W. The event begins at 6 p.m. May 8 with a cocktail
reception, followed by dinner, the fashion show and a live auction at 7:15
p.m. Capping the evening will be a performance by “Queen of Soul” Aretha
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips will be the emcee for the Gala, and Fox News anchor
John Roberts will be among the model escorts.
McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Van Hollen, D-Md., are receiving the Quincy
Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award for their work to improve the lives of people
with Down syndrome as co-chairs of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus.
Past award recipients include Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Pete Sessions, who were
honored at the first Be Beautiful Be Yourself DC Gala in 2011.
McMorris Rodgers’ son, Cole Rodgers, who happens to have Down syndrome, is the
Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s 2013 Ambassador. He will be joined at the
event by past Ambassadors DeOndra Dixon and Alex Sessions, Pete Sessions’ son.
More than 60 members of Congress have already signed on as members of the Be
Beautiful Be Yourself Gala Honorary Host Committee, and several will attend
The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala and its counterpart in Denver, the Be
Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, are the largest annual awareness-raisers
and fundraisers benefiting people with Down syndrome. This year’s Denver event
is scheduled for Sept. 28.
“We are honored to be presenting the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award
to two leaders who consistently stand up for the rights of the
differently-abled and use their position to improve the lives of people with
Down syndrome,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of the Global
Down Syndrome Foundation. “We need to educate our lawmakers in Washington
about the disparity in research funding for Down syndrome, and encourage them
to follow the lead of Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Chris Van Hollen.”
Despite being the most frequently occurring genetic condition, affecting 1 in
691 births in the U.S., Down syndrome is the least-funded genetic condition by
the National Institutes of Health.
Sponsors of the Gala include: Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Aflac, AT&T,
Sharon Magness Blake & Ernie Blake, Tom & Betsy Blumenthal, Kristine Bomgaars,
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Clear Channel, Comcast, Dish Network, Johnson
& Johnson, NextEra Energy, Printing Industries, John & Cornelia Stephens and
John Franklin Stephens, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, Wal-Mart and the Whitten
The Gala’s retail sponsor is Bloomingdale’s.
For more information, go to www.globaldownsyndrome.org or
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
Anca Elena Call, 720-320-3832
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