Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John Kennedy and the founder or the Special Olympics died today. Shirver was 88.
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts on July 10, 1921, Shriver took her chance to stand out from her siblings John, Robert and Edward Kennedy by establishing the Special Olympics which started in the confines of her backyard back in 1962. What began in the back of the house branched out and exploded into an event that has 3.1 million participants comprised of people with mental disabilities and has created 228 programs in 170 nations, according to the Special Olympics. The first event officially launched in Chicago in 1968.
Shriver has been known for helping the unfortunate outside of this event as she was an advocated for the disenfranchised and a pioneer in fighting for the rights of the disabled which she accomplished through her work behind the cameras and in the public view.
In 1957, Shriver became the executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation which was created to celebrate the family’s oldest son that was killed in World War II and to research the causes of disabilities and improve the treatment of those with disabilities. Her work was extensive there as she helped to create the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in 1962.
Shriver clearly made great use of her time here as her work has almost absorbed the majority of her life and she can be deemed as a person that was passionate and truly wanted to make a change especially for the disabled community.
She has left behind a large family as the one she originated from that spawned nine children. Shriver leaves behind her husband, R. Sargent Shiver, and her five children along with their spouses and 19 grandchildren. According to a statement released, all of them were in attendance when Shriver passed. Her daughter Maria is married to action movie actor and now California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.