John C. McGinley, an actor well-known for his role on Scrubs as Dr. Perry Cox, had no idea what it meant to love and to have the capacity to love until his son, Max, taught him what love is.
McGinley was expecting to have the idyllic “Norman Rockwell” moment when he was becoming a new father, going home with a healthy newborn baby.
However, once he received the diagnosis that Max has Down Syndrome, the hospital told him that he had the option to give Max up for adoption or have him placed in an institution. Max struggled to stay alive in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for about a month with sleep apnea and seizures, which are some of the common issues that people that are diagnosed experience. “I had no idea what Down Syndrome meant when I got the diagnosis,” McGinley said, who came from a typical family of five children in New York.
Communication was the most challenging issue that he faced with Max when he was a young nonverbal child. Autism, intellectual disabilities, sleep apnea, congenital heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease can be seen in people who have been diagnosed.
“Max communicated with me by using gestures,” he said. ” Max attended school from K-12 with Santa Monica Unified School District, mainstreamed into classes with regular students. He had his own assistant to help him keep up with his classwork at school,” McGinley said. Additionally, McGinley paired Max with a typical buddy through BEST BUDDIES so that he would go out to places with someone at a regular basis that is age-appropriate rather than being without friends
McGinley turned to large organizations such as the Special Olympics and other organizations that serve the needs of people who have Down Syndrome for support to help him raise Max. He met Tim Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics, who has children with special needs. They both became longtime friends when McGinley became an advocate for
the Special Olympics 19 years ago.
McGinley helps to raise funding for the organization by meeting with people in Washington, D.C. such as Sen. Jack Reed from Rhode Island; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; and Timothy Shriver, disability rights activist and CEO/chairman of the Special Olympics.
“When the (Special Olympics) athletes met with members in Congress who handle the federal funding for this organization, I could tell that the Congress felt inspired by what they saw in those athletes,” McGinley said. For example, Congresswoman Pelosi was interested to know the goals and needs of the Special Olympics. “The Special Olympics allows athletes with intellectual disabilities to be in an environment for (positive) growth and empowerment,” McGinley said.
McGinley wants to make the world a better place for people who have intellectual disabilities by joining nationwide campaigns such as “Spread the Word to End the Word” and “Pledge Inclusion” with the Special Olympics. Max has a strong impact on how McGinley feels about people who have intellectual disabilities. He wants to eradicate the “R” (retarded) word because it can make people with intellectual disabilities feel less valued as human beings. “These innocent people with intellectual disabilities cannot defend themselves against such derogatory terms and do not deserve to be picked on,” he noted.
The challenges raising Max brought more depth to his role as Dr. Perry Cox by giving the character a big heart with a sense of compassion towards others. McGinley wants to educate others to show compassion towards other people with intellectual disabilities and interact with them with compassion and love, not by ignorance. There are millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities who need to be understood, not ignored, McGinley said.
He also wants to focus on Max’s abilities, not disabilities. Max, now 21, has been working at Starbucks and is playing guitar in a band with Spectrum Laboratory, a Los Angeles based organization that allows individuals with autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities practice their art through film, music, and animation—founded by Jason Weissbrod and Garth Herberg.
“Max also helps take care of his two younger sisters”, McGinley said. He always makes sure that Max is included in life, not excluded. He has a trampoline to help him exercise his muscles, since people with Down Syndrome are more prone to poor muscular tone.
When it comes to medical care for Max, he strives to find individualized medical care for him to address his unique needs. Max receives medical care at different facilities in Los Angeles and in Denver. He finds it a big challenge to find clinicians who are willing to care for Max as a person. Down Syndrome receives the least funding for medical research by the National Institutes of Health. McGinley has also focused his efforts on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, because people with Down Syndrome have increased risk of developing this disease when they grow older later in life during adulthood.
Therefore, this caveat pushed McGinley to accept Michelle Sie Whitten’s invitation to become a board member and international spokesperson with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. Whitten, whose son has Down Syndrome, is the organization’s CEO and President. “We need to improve Alzheimer’s Disease research,” McGinley said. “I want to see the Down Syndrome Global Foundation to become a pioneer in research for Down Syndrome.” The Global Down Syndrome Foundation, based in Colorado, raises funding for education, awareness, and government advocacy for the Anna & John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome, a medical care center for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome housed at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.
When asked what new parent of a Down Syndrome child should do, “A new parent should contact the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and move to Denver to learn the best tools to raise a child with Down Syndrome,” McGinley said. At this point, he feels that society has become more accepting of people who have disabilities including Down Syndrome, mentioning how Zack Gottsagen made Hollywood history at the 2020 Oscars as the first Oscar presenter with Down Syndrome. In fact, Tim Shriver from the Special Olympics and Michelle Sie Whitten from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation were some of the executive producers for the award-winning film, The Peanut Butter Falcon, that Gottsagen starred in with Shia LeBeouf.
Now at the age of 60, McGinley is still fighting to make the world a better place for people like Max, people with different types of disabilities, you and me to accept one another. “My son, Max, is my big gift. He is my life.”
Finally, the Cinderella story of the Richmond Greyhounds has come to an end.
We are now in a new season for the team, and they have started off on the wrong
foot. The team is broken up and Ted has his work cut out for him. The team goes
through a slump, and Ted is now doubting his coaching ability. Ted’s personal life
has also gotten out of control, and he discovers his ex-wife Michelle has started a relationship with their therapist. The wonderkid, Nathan Shelley, the former manager of West Ham has had a change of heart and leaves his job to be with his one true love, the waitress from his favorite restaurant.
She convinces him to return to the Richmond team he started out in and it’s quite evident that
everyone wants him back and held no hard feelings. All of Lawrence’s series he has worked on with others have just that right balance of slice-of-life drama with a little bit of ridiculous comedy that reality dishes us, normal folks, every day.
This all comes to a head in the potential series finale where Ted announced to
Rebecca that he will be returning to the States to his family after his mother tells
him that his son misses him. This puts the Richmond owner into quite a state of denial; doing everything from offering Ted the position of being the highest-paid coach in the league to selling the team after he leaves. The team is also affected by this decision as they perform a number from the musical The Sound of Music that is a more than touching farewell to this family.
This bleeds into their playing as in the final title match the first half is met with
bumbling and possible injuries to their star player Jamie.
After an energizing pep talk and a circle back to the first motivator in the
beginning, a sign Ted made up that said “BELIEVE”, the team dominate the second
half and win with a rousing closing scene that is reminiscent of any 80’s party
movie. It’s a fitting end for this pandemic darling that emotionally carried us through. It is
a must-see series even if you don’t like soccer (football).
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm