We join not only the disability community but the entire world as we mourn the loss of Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics and a proud Massachusetts native. Her impact on society has literally changed the world for people with intellectual disabilities and has profoundly changed the way the public treats and cares for this heretofore forgotten population.
Individuals with Intellectual disabilities are living healthier, happier lives because of Mrs. Shriver's unwavering dedication. If living, working and social conditions are better for people with intellectual disabilities and have improved over the past 45 years - and they have - we have Eunice Kennedy Shriver to thank. Her work will continue and her legacy will live on.
Mrs. Shriver has inspired countless individuals with intellectual disabilities to go out and show the world that they are capable of extraordinary things. It was that can-do attitude that grew this organization from a back-yard camp to what is now the single largest amateur sports organization on earth.
While everyone in the Special Olympics Family is deeply saddened by her loss, we remain more inspired than ever with the legacy she has left. It is a world where individuals with intellectual disabilities are accepted, respected and valued. She had a vision over 40 years ago in which people with intellectual disabilities would be respected in every corner of the world. Thanks to the determination of one woman, now nearly 3,000,000 athletes participate in 183 countries word wide.
We keep the entire Shriver and Kennedy family in our deepest thoughts during this difficult period. But the family should be comforted by the fact that Mrs. Shriver has made the world a better place for individuals with intellectual disabilities and all who love them. The board, staff, volunteers, family members and supporters of Special Olympics Massachusetts remain more determined than ever to keeping Mrs. Shriver's vision alive. Her spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of so many who share her determination to provide people with intellectual disabilities with a healthier, happier, longer and more fulfilling life.
In The True Spirit of Special Olympics,
President & CEO
Special Olympics Massachusetts
Robert Johnson is the President and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts.