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Dr Usama Fouad Shaalan MD; PhD. Miniencyclopedia – من دفاتر الدكتور / أسامه فؤاد شعلان

Special Olympics founder remembered for ‘love and service to others’

Image: Eunice Kennedy Shriver

 

In this Aug., 1964 file photo, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is shown swimming with youngsters in a pool at the day camp for mentally challenged children in Fairmount Park at Philadelphia.

 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88
Aug. 11: Former President John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver has died at the age of 88. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports and TODAY’s Matt Lauer takes a look back at her remarkable life.

BARNSTABLE, Massachusetts – President John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a champion for the rights of the mentally disabled and founder of the Special Olympics, has died. She was 88.

Shriver had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and died at 2 a.m. on Tuesday at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, her family said in a statement. The hospital is near the Kennedy family compound, where her sole surviving brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been battling brain cancer.

As celebrity, social worker and activist, Shriver was credited with transforming America’s view of the mentally disabled from institutionalized patients to friends, neighbors and athletes. Her efforts were inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.

In a statement, her family described Shriver as the “light of our lives … who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others.”

‘She set out to change the world’
Shriver organized the first Special Olympics in 1968. She was inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary Kennedy.

“She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power,” her family’s statement added. “She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more.

“She founded the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world. Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they in turn are her living legacy.”

She is survived by her husband, Sargent Shriver. Shriver’s children include Maria, a former television journalist who married California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Shriver was born in Brookline, Mass., the fifth of nine children to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. She earned a sociology degree from Stanford University in 1943 after graduating from a British boarding school while her father served as ambassador to England.

Her siblings include John F. Kennedy, who was elected president in 1960 and assassinated in 1963, Robert, a New York senator whose presidential bid ended when he was assassinated in 1968, and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Summer camp
With Eunice Shriver’s death, Jean Kennedy Smith becomes the last surviving Kennedy daughter.

The roots of the Special Olympics go back to a summer camp Shriver ran in Maryland in 1963. Shriver would "get right in the pool with the kids; she’d toss the ball," said a niece, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who volunteered at the camp as a teen. "It’s that hands-on, gritty approach that awakened her to the kids’ needs."

Realizing the children were far more capable of sports than experts said, Shriver organized the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago. The two-day event drew more than 1,000 participants from 26 states and Canada.

By 2003, the Special Olympics World Summer Games, held that year in Dublin, Ireland, involved more than 6,500 athletes from 150 countries. The games are held every four years.

Well into her 70s, Shriver remained a daily presence at the Special Olympics headquarters in Washington.

Shriver was the recipient of numerous honors, including the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she received in 1984. In May, the National Portrait Gallery installed a painting of her — the first portrait commissioned by the museum of someone who had not been a president or first lady.

‘Moral force’
She was a social worker at a women’s prison in Alderson, W.Va., and worked with the juvenile court in Chicago in the 1950s before taking over the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation with the goal of improving the treatment of the mentally disabled. The foundation was named for her oldest brother, Joseph Jr., who was killed in World War II.

In 1953, she married Shriver. He became JFK’s first director of the Peace Corps, was George McGovern’s vice-presidential running mate in 1972, and ran for president himself briefly in 1976.

A 1960 Chicago Tribune profile of the women in then-candidate JFK’s family said Shriver was "generally credited with being the most intellectual and politically minded of all the Kennedy women."

Peter Collier, author of "The Kennedys, an American Drama," called Eunice Shriver the "moral force" of the Kennedy family.

"When the full judgment on the Kennedy legacy is made — including JFK’s Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy’s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy’s efforts on health care, work place reform and refugees — the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential," Harrison Rainie, author of "Growing Up Kennedy," wrote in U.S. News & World Report in 1993.

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