SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2017 | DENVER, CO

Q&A with Ricki Rest, Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show 2013 Event Chair

Ricki kickoff

1. Why did you join the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show Committee?

“This, for me, is an opportunity to help make a difference. Each of us has been put on earth for a purpose, and improving the possibilities for Chase and others born with Down syndrome is mine. It is the hugest passion I have ever had in my lifetime, and while I still can, I wish to spread awareness to anyone who is willing to listen, advocate for the love of my life, Chase Turner Perry, and ascertain that he and the many others born with this genetic disorder will have the most fulfilling, healthy lives imaginable while being treated with the respect that he and they so deserve.”

2. What can we expect at this year’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show?

“As always we salute and honor our treasured children who have Down syndrome as they take to the runway with celebrities. This year is celebratory, as we commemorate the 5th anniversary of Be Beautiful Be Yourself by honoring our most staunch supporters who, by their generosity, dedication and loyalty, have made it possible for us to continue our mission; to eradicate the ill effects of Down syndrome. Too, those very people who support us with tremendous funding want to see how their generosity has been utilized. So our past ambassadors are returning this year with their families to show and tell all they have gained and the strides which have been made thanks to all of the financial and moral support of so many.”

3. Why should people support the Global Down Syndrome Foundation?

“From the day Chase was born, I became aware of the many medical conditions associated … which he may encounter. It was then that I realized we needed to do everything and anything to combat these ill effects. In order to do so, hiring the top of the top scientists and specialists in the world would be imperative … and this takes major funding.

In addition to this, while our scientists at the Linda Crnic Institute are researching the many ill effects linked to Down syndrome such as Alzheimer’s and leukemia, they will be addressing these devastating afflictions for the rest of the world as well. Their findings will have an impact on the entire population.”

4. Please share a sentence or two about your life, including what is important to you and anything else you would like to share with others.

“The immediate Gold family alone consists of 36 members … at least half of which I see or speak with every day. Then we have the extended family … and for this, I have lost count. Family is at the very soul of my foundation. David and I share 9 fabulous grandchildren and 10 great nieces and nephews here alone in Denver and worship the ground on which they walk. There is no one with whom we would rather spend time or nothing we would rather do than be with them 24/7. With that being said, Chase is our most precious treasure. He is a bubbly bundle of brains, smiles and love to each and every one of us in his family and anyone who is lucky enough to cross his path. He is our teacher and keeps us sharp and on our toes. He has taught us all many facts about which we had no conception due to his ability to read at 18 months old.

He has taught us what true and real love is and gives it and receives it better than anyone I have ever known. He is accepting, forgiving, understanding and kind. He never forgets a name, a birthday, an address or anything anyone has ever said to him. We are all better persons because of him and aim to be half the person he is. I cannot wait to wake up every morning with the possibility of spending time with him … and knowing that I may makes the gloomiest day turn in to the happiest day.”

5. What does supporting the Global Down Syndrome Foundation mean to you?

“To list only a few of the key points which have and will continue to be most advantageous to our family: A. Lead scientists are working everyday to eradicate the ill effects of this genetic disorder. From day one my main concerns were centered around the fact that children with Down syndrome are born with the pre-disposition to have Alzheimer’s at an early age and are more susceptible to developing leukemia. B. The Global Down Syndrome Educational Series were and are our tools for learning. We have had the opportunity to meet the key professionals in every aspect of Down syndrome and have been and are able to obtain crucial information … right from the beginning. C. The fact that we have a clinic here in Colorado that specializes in the care of children with Down syndrome only, rather than going to a doctor who sees only typical children and possibly 1 or 2 children with Down syndrome. Our children are wired differently and need to be seen by doctors trained to treat them. D. The sports teams have been over the top. Our children now have the opportunity to play at their own level; some who happen to be better than typical children and are coached by those who teach and treat our children with the love and respect they so deserve. E. The Patti McVay component has made a huge difference in our lives by training our teachers who will be teaching our children in the most effective ways for our children to learn. This is priceless. We are hopeful to create more funding so that we can expand this crucial piece.

What the Sies and Whittens have done for our world and for us in Denver, Colorado, by establishing the Linda Crnic Institute, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the Sie Center, is insurmountable. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. What better gift is there in the world for our family … then to have this available right here at home? We are truly blessed and are forever grateful to Anna and John, Michelle and Tom for the love they have for their wonderful child Sophia and the dedication they have had from day one to make it be the very best it can be for her and all of the lucky children to be born in her lifetime.”