DENVER, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) announced two powerful women who will receive this year's Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Awards: Grey's Anatomy star Caterina Scorsone and Spanish model Marián Ávila. Celebrities are showing up in full force to support GLOBAL and honor the accomplished awardees.  

Global Down Syndrome Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/Global Down Syndrome Foundation)

The awards will be presented during GLOBAL's annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest fundraiser for Down syndrome in the world, having raised over $20 million for life-changing research and medical care. Due to COVID-19 and restrictions on in-person gatherings, the event will be held virtually with a new date: Saturday, November 14, 2020.  

Caterina Scorsone has starred in numerous television and film roles, portraying powerfully complex characters that have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. She is most well-known for playing the reckless, yet compelling "Dr. Amelia Shepherd" on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Scorsone has three beautiful children including her three-year-old, Pippa, who was born with Down syndrome. Since the birth of Pippa, Scorsone has been a consistent supporter of GLOBAL's work. For the last three years, Scorsone has used her formidable platform to promote greater understanding and awareness, end stigmas around people who are differently-abled, and to encourage greater access and inclusion.

Marián Ávila is an accomplished Spanish model from Barcelona, who happens to have Down syndrome. She has modelled in ad campaigns for big name brands like Levi's and El Corte Ingles and participated in the fashion industry's biggest Fashion Weeks, including New York Fashion Week. She has been featured in worldwide media, including leading publications such as New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar. Ávila uses social media to meet other people and gain visibility, without judgements or labels, and to help others. She calls herself a feminist and an advocate of human rights, family, and friendship.

Other confirmed celebrities include Academy and Grammy Award winner Jamie Foxx; award-winning actors John C. McGinley, Zack Gottsagen, Jamie Brewer, and Megan Bomgaars; Denver Broncos' Brandon McManus, world-renowned swimmer Karen Gaffney, and Colorado Rapids' Kellyn Acosta; award-winning speakers, journalists, and TV anchors DeOndra Dixon, Frank Stephens, Kyra Phillips, John Roberts, Kim Christiansen, and Tom Green; R&B power couple Ronnie & Shamari DeVoe; and supermodel and Amanda Booth. More celebrities and self-advocates will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show will consist of a VIP Reception with more intimate celebrity experiences for table sponsors and a quality virtual event on Saturday November 14, 2020. The event will feature GLOBAL's 2020 Ambassador Walt Snodgrass, 18 beautiful models from 7 states and 2 countries, honorees and celebrities, and special segments including a dance battle between GLOBAL Ambassador DeOndra Dixon and her big brother Jamie Foxx.

"I know that COVID-19 has led to tough times for so many," says GLOBAL Ambassador DeOndra Dixon, "but we have to pull together and continue to support GLOBAL and people with Down syndrome in need. I will miss the runway and the audience, but I am excited to make the virtual event a success and beat my brother in an epic dance battle!"

"Most people with Down syndrome are high risk for COVID-19, so we have put a lot of effort into education and protection over the last five months," says GLOBAL President and CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten. "The pandemic has presented GLOBAL with many challenges this year, and we've met each one with strength, clarity of purpose, and compassion. We hope that people will support our first virtual event and that they know we will work hard to truly save and transform lives."

In response to the world-wide pandemic, GLOBAL has worked hard to get out multiple versions of an informative Q&A on COVID-19/Down syndrome, provide over 140 families and 42 Down syndrome organizations with COVID-19 Emergency Relief Global Grants, and support legislation that fights discrimination against those with disabilities during crisis triage care situations.

The Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show allows GLOBAL to protect people with Down syndrome during this pandemic with their COVID-19 initiatives, provide world-class care to over 2,000 patients with Down syndrome from 28 states and 10 countries, and fund over 200 scientists working on Down syndrome research with a focus on Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. The event also underwrites our advocacy in D.C., resulting in a tripling of the National Institutes of Health Down syndrome research budget, as well as outreach to over 12,000 families. 

To support GLOBAL's work, please consider a donation
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About Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,000 patients with Down syndrome from 28 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and medical care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 150 Down syndrome organizations worldwide, and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer's and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

GLOBAL's widely-circulated medical publications include GLOBAL Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome, Prenatal Testing and Information about Down Syndrome, and the award-winning Down Syndrome WorldTM magazine. GLOBAL also organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit and follow us on social media (Facebook & Twitter: @GDSFoundation, Instagram: @globaldownsyndrome).

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