Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21 - Day 28 - John C. McGinley, Jamie Foxx, Kathy Ireland and Down Syndrome

Here is the deal.  Having celebrities and famous individuals who advocate for Down syndrome can be an amazing way to help spread information and awareness.

One of my personal heroes is John C. McGinley who has a son who has Down syndrome.  John came to the Cleveland Buddy Walk (he is the national Buddy Walk Ambassador) and spoke to everyone and took picture after picture with adoring fans and grateful participants. 

Just one week later, while he was working on shooting an Alex Cross movie in the Akron/Cleveland area, he was asked to throw out the first pitch at the Indians game.  He made a deal with the Indians, that if he purchased 100 tickets, they had to donate 100 tickets to give to area families who have a child with Down syndrome.  Not only did he buy the tickets, throw out the first pitch, but then he came up and sat with all of us and took more pictures and hung out with kids and families during the game.  Want to talk about class act?  Look no farther than this kind, generous and wonderful man.  Thank you, Mr. McGinley for your time and advocacy for both people with Down syndrome as well as your tireless work on the R-word campaign to Spread the Word to End the Word.  

Did you know that Jamie Foxx has a sister who has Down syndrome?  That he hosts an incredible fundraiser every year to raise money for Down syndrome research?  Here is what he said after last year's event:

October 06, 2010
We've seen Jamie Foxx with his sister DeOndra Dixon on the red carpet but now he's putting her in the spotlight and opening up about caring for a sibling with Down syndrome.
"This little lady right here lives with me along with my other sister, along with my father and my mother. So, we're one big happy family," Foxx said while seated next to DeOndra.
On Saturday night, DeOndra and her peers participated in the Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Jet Set Fashion Show where music great Quincy Jones and "Survivor" host Jeff Probst were both in attendance. The event went to benefit Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Foxx said of the evening, "This is just so amazing that she gets to do her thing where the spotlight is on her. The focus is on her. It means a lot."
The actor couldn't help but dote on his sister, telling ET, "I don't call it a condition. I just call it living. … When she loves, she loves. When she's mad, she's mad. When she cries, she cries. When she's happy, she's happy, but she always tells the truth."
He said the message of this event was to be yourself and to recognize that there's "beautiful everywhere."
That is my favorite line from the interview-- where he says... "I don't call it a condition.  I just call it living."

Here is a video from this year's event as covered by ET.

Jamie Foxx Serenades 

Sister With Heartfelt Song

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

October 26, 2011
It was an uplifting night of glitz and glamour at the 2011 Be Beautiful, Be Yourself fashion show and fundraiser in Denver last Saturday as a crowd of 1,200 partied it up in style, all the while raising money for a good cause.
Jamie Foxx, who is no stranger to the yearly event, ensured the affair was a memorable one for sister DeOndra Dixon, performing an original composition (Love Brings Change) to his teary-eyed sister.
DeOndra, who was born with Down Syndrome, basked in the spotlight as the 2011 Ambassador forthe foundation, which raised over $1 million for Down Syndrome research that night.
Music Icon Quincy Jones, John C. McGinley, Supermodel Beverly Johnson, and The Real Housewives of Orange County's Peggy Tanous also took part in the star-studded festivities.
Another star who recently started advocating for Down syndrome is Kathy Ireland, who has a niece, Polly, who has Down syndrome.  She has been working on lobbying for more money to be budgeted for Down syndrome research.  According to her article "The Tragic Shortfall in Down Syndrome Research" the National Institute of Health spends less than 0.01 percent of its research budget on Down syndrome.  For the most commonly occurring chromosomal disorder-- that is an outrageously low amount of funds. 

Finally,  to wrap up this highlight of some of the celebrity Down syndrome advocates, I found this wonderful list at

What do all of these people have in common?
  • Charles Darwin (naturalist)
  • Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals first baseman)
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington Congresswoman)
  • John C. McGinley (actor)
  • Eva Longoria (actress)
  • Gene Stallings (Arizona Cardinals headcoach)
  • George Will (journalist)
  • Arthur Miller (American playwright)
  • Jamie Foxx (actor)
  • Jim O’Brien (Indiana Pacers coach)
  • Emily Perl Kingsley (Sesame Street writer & author of Welcome to Holland)
  • Heath Bell (San Diego Padres closing pitcher)
  • Charles de Gaulle (French military leader)
  • Roy Rogers & Dale Evans (actor & actress)
  • David Ragan (NASCAR driver #6)
  • Sarah Palin (Alaska’s governor)
  • Julie Newmar (Actress- original Catwoman)
  • Lowell Weicker (the former Govenor of Connecticut)
  • Rex Hudler (retired baseball player & Angels Baseball announcer)
  • Damon Hill (Formula One Racecar Driver-1990’s)
  • Halle Berry (actress)
  • Joe Diffie (country music artist)
  • Pete Sessions (Texas Congressman)
  • Trent Whitfield (Hockey player- Peoria Rivermen captain)
  • Cullen Douglas (actor)
  • Frank Sesno (CNN special correspondent)
  • Hubert Humphrey (Former US Vice President)
  • Buddy Bell (retired baseball player & manager)
  • Aaron Beasley (Atlanta Falcons player)
  • Beverly Beckham (writer for Boston Globe)
  • Bob Hennefer (Professional golf player)
  • Beau Geisler (hockey player, Stockton Thunder defenseman)

They all have a family member with Down syndrome!
  • Charles Darwin- son, Charles Waring Darwin
  • Albert Pujols- daughter, Isabella
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers- son, Cole
  • John C. McGinley- son, Max
  • Eva Longoria- sister, Elizabeth
  • Gene Stallings- son, Johnny
  • George Will- son, Jon
  • Arthur Miller- son, Daniel
  • Jamie Fox- sister, Diondra
  • Jim O’Brien- daughter, Caitlyn
  • Emily Perl Kingsley- son, Jason
  • Heath Bell- daughter, Jordyn
  • Charles de Gaulle- daughter, Anne
  • Roy Rogers & Dale Evans- daughter, Robin
  • David Ragan- brother, Adam
  • Sarah Palin- son, Trig
  • Julie Newmar- son, John
  • Lowell Weicker- son Jonathan
  • Rex Hudler- son, Cade
  • Damon Hill- son, Oliver
  • Halle Berry- nephew
  • Joe Diffie- son, Tyler
  • Pete Sessions- son, Alex
  • Trent Whitfield- daughter, Alstyn
  • Cullen Douglas- son, Gabriel
  • Frank Sesno- sister
  • Hubert Humphrey- grandaughter, Victoria
  • Buddy Bell- daughter, Tracy
  • Aaron Beasley- uncle
  • Beverly Beckham- grandaughter, Lucy
  • Bob Hennefer- son, Brad
  • Beau Geisler- twin sons, Wyatt and Bryce


  1. Wow! Great compilation of information and fun!

  2. Love this post! I LOVE Albert Pujols. He has done so much community outreach in the St. Louis (my original home town). I think John McGinley is moving on up my list of favorite celebs.

  3. Wow...reading about John McGinley made me cry. I hate that it takes celebrities endorsing things/issues to bring them to the spotlight but that is the world we live in. Kudos to all of them who use their status to help others!


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