The Research Down Syndrome (RDS) Foundation presented its 2013 Light the Way Award to Dr. Roger Reeves from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Yvonne Maddox from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at Tribute 21, the First Annual Masquerade Ball benefiting RDS. The award recognizes persons engaged in initiatives to assist individual empowerment. Previous award winners have included New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Vice President Dr. Luca Santarelli.
Dr. Reeves, Professor in the Department of Physiology and the Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was recognized for his research which focuses on the mechanisms of gene action in Down syndrome. His efforts have contributed to significant breakthroughs in the field of Down syndrome cognitive research.
Dr. Yvonne Maddox, Deputy Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has led initiatives to establish the National Down Syndrome Consortium and the National Down Syndrome Patient Registry.
The awards were presented November 9, in Washington, DC at Tribute 21, a fundraising ball hosted by Erin and Brendan Fry in memory of their son, Flynn Thomas Fry. The event supports scientific research that will, as Mr. and Mrs. Fry noted, “enhance life opportunities of all the loved ones with Down syndrome whom we are still so blessed to have in our lives.”
At the event, Research Down Syndrome recognized the contributions of Drs. Reeves and Maddox, and expressed its appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Fry, the sponsors, the host committee and all of the guests for their belief in the promise of Down syndrome cognitive research. The Foundation noted that support through donations and events such as Tribute 21 has contributed to rapid progress in this remarkable research initiative. RDS grants and other support has led to the initiation of three clinical trials currently underway that are evaluating potential therapies to improve cognition in individuals with Down syndrome and address the increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease.
The featured speaker at the event was self advocate Mr. Eli Lewis. Mr. Lewis spoke about his journey through the public school system and his transition to adulthood. Mr. Lewis is currently employed at Project Search.
In addition to Mr. Lewis’ speech, the over four hundred attendees enjoyed music from the 19th St. Band and participated in an auction, which included a painting of the Jefferson Memorial produced live at the event by local artist Maggie O’Neill.