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We teamed up with celebrities Kristoffer Polaha and David DeSanctis to bring you two days of events to help bring awareness of Down syndrome to Northern Nevada.


They starred in a movie together about a friendship that was formed between two men, one of whom has Down syndrome (David). Sometimes life imitates art, as is the case with Kristoffer and David.  The two of them bonded during the filming of the movie and have become lifelong friends.

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Kristoffer Polaha

Born and raised in Reno,  Kristoffer is an actor, director and author, known for his many tv and movie roles.  His recent projects include "Buried in Barstow", "Jurassic World Dominion", and "Wonder Woman 1984".  He is also considered the "Leading Man of Hallmark" with over a dozen Hallmark movies and TV shows under his belt. Polaha's short film "A Work of Art" recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and his second book  in his "To Kona With Love" series, "Where the Sun Rises," comes out October 11th. Kristoffer is proud to work with a number of charities including World Vision and The Jensen Project.


David DeSanctis

David is an actor and advocate best known for the movies "Where Hope Grows" and "Color my World With Love". DeSanctis is an inspirational speaker for non-profits and special needs groups around the country, sharing his personal journey of living with Down Syndrome. He is presently working part time for National Down Syndrome Society as their Public Relations Outreach Associate. DeSanctis has been involved in the Best Buddies Program since 2009, and served on the Kentucky Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities from 2016-2021.

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"I love what the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada is doing for our community, what they are doing with and for families who have a member with Down syndrome and I am proud to be an ambassador for an outstanding nonprofit that's from my hometown of Reno, Nevada."


-Kristoffer Polaha


Media Coverage

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Kristoffer Polaha on KLCA
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Reno-born actor Kristoffer Polaha is back in town this weekend to host a series of events supporting the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada.

On Friday, October 21st there is a screening of his film “Where Hope Grows” at the Joe Crowley Student Union on the Nevada campus. It runs from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., and includes a Q&A session with Polaha and his co-star David Desanctis.

On Saturday, October 22nd, the Lucky Few Fall Festival is being held at Ferrari Farms from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. A $25 ticket incldues lunch, a meet-and-greet with the two actors, a hay ride, corn maze walk and other fun activities.

You can find more information on both events at

Copyright 2022 KOLO. All rights reserved.

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This weekend the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada is hosting two full days of fun leading up to the The Lucky Few Fall Festival on Saturday. to tell us all about it, the executive director, Christina Ugalde, along with Hollywood actors, Kristoffer Polaha and David DeSanctis, stopped by Morning Break. 

Kristoffer and David met while filming the movie Where Hope Grows in 2013 and then it premiered in 2014. In the movie Kristoffer’s character befriends a young man with down syndrome, played by David DeSanctis. Over the last nearly 10 years, they’re friendship has remained a constant and they work together to spread the importance of representation, inclusion and kindness to everyone regardless of differences. 

On Friday, October 21, they will be speaking to the students at Reed High School and Incline High School about the importance of belonging, friendship and hope.  Then Friday evening, DSNNN will be hosting a viewing of their movie, “Where Hope Grows,” at UNR in Joe Crowley Student Union. They’ll also have a Q&A session moderated by KOLO 8 News Now’s Josh Little.  

Saturday at Ferrari Farms Kristoffer and David will also be at The Lucky Few Fall Festival. This special day will include all of the activities you would expect down at the pumpkin patch, including hay rides and a corn maze. Special tickets include the price of admission, the hayride, the corn maze and an all-access pass to the Lucky Few Fall Festival zone.  That’s where you can meet Kristoffer and David, enjoy lunch provided by High Steaks Grill, along with desserts, face painting, cotton candy, games, a pumpkin decorating station and more.

Click here to learn more and follow DSNNN on Facebook and Instagram

Copyright 2022 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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