"A hero is a person who doesn't
count the cost of sacrifice in time,
money and convenience to bring
joy and laughter and hope to the
infants and children who are
hungry, to women who are
overpowered, or to families who
For more than four decades, Eunice Kennedy Shriver has worked tirelessly on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. A visionary, she has marshaled all of her strength, boundless energy and unwavering commitment to improve the lives of intellectually disabled people everywhere. Through her service as Executive Vice President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, and as Founder and Honorary Chair of Special Olympics International, she began the highly visible movement to demonstrate that the intellectually disabled are capable of remarkable achievements and deserve the same opportunities and experiences as others.
Special Olympics was conceived in June of 1962 when Mrs. Shriver started a day camp at her home in Maryland for people with intellectual disabilities. By 1963, 11 camps were convened around the country and by 1968 there were more than 300. Today, Special Olympics is a global movement powered by one of the world's largest corps of volunteers with 2.5 million athletes in 165 countries. This October, 7,500 athletes will compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, the first time the games have been held in Asia and only the second time outside of the United States.
Mrs. Shriver has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. When presenting her with The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984, President Ronald Reagan said Mrs. Shriver's "decency and goodness have touched the lives of many." She serves on the board of directors of Best Buddies, founded by her son Anthony in 1989. Mrs. Shriver is a formidable woman and one whose legacy is imprinted on us all.
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