Celebrities raise awareness and money for Down syndrome

On Oct. 13, more than $1.5 million was raised for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's 2012 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. The event took place at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel and all proceeds went to the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado School of Medicine to fund research, medical care and education for the condition.

There were 1,200 attendees at the event, some of whom were celebrities and football legends. In addition, actor Jamie Foxx and Luke Zimmerman, from the TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager, received the 2012 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Awards.

The main feature of the event was the fashion show, in which 30 models with Down syndrome proudly strutted down the runway with celebrity escorts. Another event was a live auction that raised $210,000. In addition, Natasha Bedingfield finished the evening with her hit song Unwritten, to which many of the models danced along to.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
There are currently more than 400,000 individuals in the United States living with Down syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Down syndrome is a genetic, chromosomal disorder that results when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21, which is referred to as trisomy 21, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This causes significant changes in the development of the brain and body.

With access to prenatal testing, expectant parents can receive an amniocentesis during pregnancy to determine whether their baby is affected before birth. However, the severity of the condition varies, and it's impossible to know how dramatic the symptoms will be until he or she is born.

The NICHD states that there are many other health conditions that are seen in Down syndrome patients, which include intestinal problems, congenital heart disease, hearing and vision problems, dementia and celiac disease. Although the condition cannot be cured, healthcare providers can intervene early in life to give affected individuals healthy and long lives. Children can often reduce the severity of symptoms with speech and occupational therapy, as well as participating in physical activities to improve their gross and fine motor skills.

Have you ever known an individual with Down syndrome? What kind of medical interventions did he or she receive? Did they help? Leave your answers in the comments section!