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Fashion show in Denver raises funds for Down syndrome awareness and research

DENVER – The point of the night was to raise money for scientific research into Down syndrome – and raise awareness about the condition.

That’s the refrain that celeb after celeb told the press at the red carpet of the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion show at the Sheraton in downtown Denver Saturday evening.

Stars like Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, Marissa Tomei and Matt Dillon showed up to lend their voices and support to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

Foundation co-founder Michelle Sie Whitten walked down the red carpet with Jamie Foxx and his younger sister DeOndra Dixon, who had a ball with her brother showing off for the cameras.

Dixon joked with reporters and Foxx, at one point quipping that she didn’t find her musician-actor-comedian brother all that funny, following that up with an emphatic endorsement of his many talents.

Whitten stood close by, soaking up the fun. She was quick to point out the importance of her foundation’s work, especially for adults with Down syndrome, who often require medical care and assistance late into life.

She said she was lucky to have lived the life she has – with ample resources – and remarked that not everyone who’s confronted with Down syndrome can.

"Not everybody with Down syndrome has access to medical care or the kind of nurturing that [Dixon]’s had with her family," Whitten told 9NEWS. "So we’re here to make sure that we get the research dollars that lead to better health outcomes for those people, but also, frankly, for DeOndra and my daughter Sophia."

John C. McGinley, best known for his role as Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs, said that the point of the night was money. While blunt, he clarified that the fashion show and accompanying silent auction was, at its core, a fundraising event.

Eva Longoria told 9NEWS that people with Down syndrome deserve to live long, healthy lives – just like the rest of us. Those with Down syndrome live, on average, to 50 or 60, and have health problems all their life.

"This is family. This is our community," Longoria said. "And to be here and help bring a voice to everything that they’re doing and help raise funds tonight is an honor."

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation said the fashion show and silent auction events are the biggest fundraisers for their organization. The foundation said it is a nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of those with Down syndrome. Their areas of focus are research, medical care, education and advocacy.

Matt Dillon told 9NEWS he’d love for the event to eventually help eradicate the stigma against those with Down syndrome. The fashion show features many supermodels who have the condition.

The foundation said the fashion show and silent auction are the single biggest fundraisers for Down syndrome – adding that it attracts over 1,200 guests each year.

© 2017 KUSA-TV

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