The Global Down Syndrome Foundation has a new headquarters under construction in Cherry Creek. Today, self-advocates of the Down syndrome community toured the building’s early progress. In addition to offices and conference rooms, the four-story space will feature an education center, a library and a gym.
“For the Down syndrome community, a lot of the parents, and myself included, have felt marginalized in society. So to constantly counter that is something that we live every day,” Michelle Sie Whitten, CEO of the foundation, said. “To have a building that is our headquarters and our home and it's where we go in and we feel welcomed, it's a huge beginning of a sea change for us.”
According to Whitten, Down syndrome is the least understood and least funded genetic condition by the national institutes of health.
“Our goal is to make it the most well understood and much better funded genetic condition that really improves the health outcomes of people with Down syndrome in our lifetime,” she said.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation provides fundraising, education, awareness, and advocacy for the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Whitten said about 1,500 unique patients from 28 states and eight countries are going to the Sie Center, which is located at the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“Colorado is the epicenter of Down syndrome research and medical care,” Whitten said. “Nowhere else will you find even close to 30 labs and 120 scientists working on Down syndrome.”
The education center received a generous donation of 1 million dollars from The Salah Foundation, kicking off the "21 x 21" Legacy Fundraising Campaign which aims to raise 21 million dollars by 2021.
The headquarters is expected to open in June.