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Love Never Fails: John C. McGinley’s Journey From A New Father To Becoming An Advocate For People With Disabilities.

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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.”

 

 

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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