A champion died. One of the products of Eunice Kennedy Shriver‘s life’s work, Special Olympics, was the celebration of champions. Shriver, age 88 when she died, was herself a champion. She championed for a better life for people with intellectual disabilities, well summarized here, below, and referencing the influence of her sister who had intellectual disabilities:
“If I (had) never met Rosemary, never known anything about handicapped children, how would I have ever found out? Because nobody accepted them anyplace,” Shriver said in a 2007 interview with National Public Radio.
Shriver helped create a place. And my own child lives in a society with greater awareness of her challenges and those like her because of Shriver.
In a 1964 Parade magazine article, she wrote boldly, using the terms du jour then and above:
“My sister, Rosemary, is retarded. But I cannot help her with pity — or serve with sorrow the 5 1/2 million others like her. Only by facing the facts and resolving to meet the challenge head-on can something be done. Only if we broaden our understanding can we help the mentally retarded to escape into the sunlight of useful living.”
Thank you, Eunice, for bringing ALL of us into the sunshine.
Tune in for a reverberating 30 seconds here.