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Meredith Manning

To people outside the disability community, it may not seem like such a big deal: create a sports program where people with disabilities can compete, make friends and achieve their personal best.

But for any athlete who has participated in the Special Olympics, the dream of having a fair forum to play and be recognized is profound.

Today, many of us are mourning the recent loss of Eunice Shriver, the mother, advocate and strident supporter of disability rights who created the Special Olympics in 1962. 

What began as a summer camp in Shriver’s backyard grew into a network of players, coaches, mentors and supporters that now reaches around the globe. 

At The Arc of San Francisco where I work, I know how much this program means to the clients we serve. People with developmental disabilities are often isolated and lack opportunities to make friends in the community. But through the Special Olympics, hundreds of our clients with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities have an opportunity to connect with others while enjoying the fun and excitement of healthy competition.

This outspoken advocate, visionary leader and great friend to people with disabilities will be mourned by the community whom she served so passionately for over half a century.
Eunice Shriver: July 10, 1921- August 11, 2009.

http://www.examiner.com/x-15004-SF-Disability-Examiner~y2009m8d11-Eunice-Shriver-A-Champion-Mourned



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