Colin Farrell is an Irish actor best known for his swarthy good looks and bad-boy reputation–but what most people don’t know? He’s a passionate advocate for the cause of rare disease.
The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, or FAST, is an organization dedicated to connecting families and professionals to find a cure for this neurodevelopmental disorder. This rare syndrome is a genetic condition associated with intellectual and developmental disability, seizures, and a typically happy demeanor.
Like many rare disease organizations, FAST works to support the Angelman Syndrome community through funding research, education, and advocacy efforts. It is supported by dedicated volunteers and donations. FAST counts many distinguished names amongst their supporters, but Farell’s commitment stands out.
From action films like Minority Report and Daredevil, to dark comedies like Seven Psychopaths and Horrible Bosses, Farrell has won critical acclaim and earned a huge fan base for his talents. His acting prowess has even earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for his portrayal of ‘Ray’ in In Bruges.
Besides his profession and personal life, Farrell is involved in many charitable organizations, including anti-bullying campaigns, Irish LGBT youth organizations, and the Special Olympics. Perhaps nearest to his heart is FAST: the much-loved actor’s oldest son, James, suffers from Angelman Syndrome. Farrell attends the FAST Gala every December as the Guest of Honor, and is a financial supporter of the organization.
In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2012, Ferrell shared some of his experiences as a father of an Angelman child.
“We share in the smallest victories; the first words at age six or seven, being able to feed oneself at 19 and getting the seizures under control. When James took his first steps at age four, I nearly broke in half!
“I wanted to talk publicly about the pride and joy I had in our son. He has enriched my life, but I don’t want to minimize the trials that so many families go through; the fear, consternation, frustration, and pain.”
Farrell stated that it is important for the parents of children with rare conditions and special needs to know that they are not alone. Social support for parents and families can be just as important as medical support for affected children.
This holiday season, consider joining Colin Farrell in support of the Angelman Syndrome community by donating to FAST, or any other rare disease organization!
A fun holiday fact about Colin Farrell:
His favorite role might be Santa! In 2011, Farrell arrived unannounced at Our Lady Children’s Hospital in Dublin (his hometown) with hundreds of presents in tow. No media were told about the visit, and even his publicist was unaware at the time! Ho ho ho!