Jamie Foxx On How His Sister With Down Syndrome Taught Him To 'Really' Live

"I'm her big brother. It's doesn't change just because she has special needs. She's still my little sister."

It's easy to get caught up in the distractions of our daily lives and forget what's really important. But in a recent interview, Jamie Foxx opened up about how his sister, DeOndra Dixon, taught him how to really live.

"I learned how to live. Sometimes we get caught up in our world on the extras of everything — 'Ah, the Mercedes is not the right color!'" Foxx told NBC News. "And then you see this girl over here. 'I just want to live. I want to dance. I want to love.' She brings you back down to what life is."

Dixon, who has Down syndrome, is an ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GDSF), a public non-profit "dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education, and advocacy," it says on their website. Foxx is also a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient.

When asked what has contributed to Dixon's success, Foxx told the foundation: "It's the way our family treats her. With DeOndra, we let her jump in the water and swim a little bit, so to speak. Our family just treats her like DeOndra. She goes everywhere we go. She's usually the life of the party! I attribute a lot of that to my mother. She was the one who was making sure DeOndra went to school and got to be involved in all the activities. She always said, 'Get out there and do your thing! Go to school, play, have fun — there's nothing different about you!'"


The idea that those with Down syndrome are just as capable of achieving their dreams as anyone else is one that's been echoed time and time again. Earlier this year, for example, we caught up with gymnast and model Chelsea Werner, who hopes her career helps pave the way for others with Down syndrome.

"I don't think people with Down syndrome are represented enough," Werner told A Plus in an email. "The more we are represented, the more people will see how capable we are." 

"They are capable of doing things maybe they didn't think they could do.  I hear from parents a lot that I give them hope for their children with disabilities," Werner added. 

There are other common misconceptions about Down syndrome that the GDSF has debunked. Some of these misconceptions, for example, are that people with Down syndrome can't go to regular schools, that they can't learn to read or write, or that they will have a negative impact on their siblings — all of which are not the case. 

As for Foxx and Dixon, well, we think Foxx sums it up perfectly:  "I'm her big brother. It's doesn't change just because she has special needs. She's still my little sister." 


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