Jamie Foxx and his sister DeOndra Dixon

People online 11/04/2011

Jamie Foxx has been making the rounds of talk shows to promote his new film Horrible Bosses 2.

In an appearance on Queen Latifa’s show he talked about his sister, DeOndra Dixon, who has Down syndrome.  The story also appeared on the Queen Latifa website with the headline “Jamie Foxx Talks About the Real “Star” In His Family“.

He tells the story about how Quincy Jones saw DeOndra on a music video that they both appeared in – Blame It on the Alcohol – and introduced her to the people at Global Down Syndrome Foundation where she became an ambassador.

DeOndra Dixon dancing in Blame It video

DeOndra’s got the moves! – Blame it on the Alcohol – Jamie Foxx

DeOndra Dixon on Blame It video

Near the end of the video, Jamie is seen saying “This is my sister.” Blame it on the Alcohol – Jamie Foxx

Foxx is obviously proud of his sister and her accomplishments.

He also talks about how Chris Brown, who has a less than stellar reputation in some circles, drops everything to spend time with DeOndra (who has a crush on him).

Jamie Foxx and DeOndra Dixon on Down Syndrome World Magazine

From Jamie Foxx.us

Jamie and his sister were selected to be on the cover of the inaugural edition of Down Syndrome World – a magazine launched by The Global Down Syndrome Foundation in October.

Last night, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and again, talked about his sister and how proud he is of her.  He told a story that I can relate to.

He said that he has DeOndra on a diet and he caught her sneaking cookies.  When he asked her what she was doing she said “Aw J, you know I got Down syndrome.”  He laughed at the obvious attempt to “play him” and said “Yeah, right, like it’s just what Down syndrome people do.”

I had to laugh out loud because my son, who is the same age as DeOndra, also tests people and loves to make people laugh.

After the segment was over, I thought about the startling data that says DeOndra’s life may be cut short.  I wondered if the fact that she has access to the best doctors and health care makes her exempt from the statistics.

Median age at death of persons with Down Syndrome, by race

Center for Disease Control: June 08, 2001 / 50(22);463-5 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5022a3.htm

I was lucky enough to meet DeOndra at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention this year.

I certainly hope she serves as Global’s ambassador for a VERY long time to come, especially since she’s one of the very few minority stars in the Down syndrome community.

But if DeOndra is exempt, what about my son.  Does the fact that he’s bi-racial mean he’s less at risk than others?

Maybe it’s not about access to care?  What if it’s genetic?
The problem is that we don’t know.

I’m so happy that someone of Foxx’s star power is talking about Down syndrome.  I hope that while Jamie is doing such a great job at raising awareness and supporting his sister, he takes a look at the numbers and helps direct research dollars into addressing this problem.

How long you live shouldn’t be determined by the color of your skin, no matter who you are or what ability you have.

You can help by signing our petition on Change.org

Read more about the problem here:
The Time For Action – Race & Down syndrome