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Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a member of the famed Kennedy clan who devoted much of her life to children's charities, including founding the Special Olympics, died at the age of 88.
Known for her devotion to the mentally disabled community and in particular her mentally disabled sister Rosemary, Ms. Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968. For years before, she had invited mentally disabled children to a summer camp held in the backyard of her Maryland home. From the first group of 35 children, the Special Olympics grew into an organization that now hosts 227 programs in more than 180 countries and includes more than three million participants.
The Special Olympics were designed "to demonstrate that people with mental retardation are capable of remarkable achievements in sports, education, employment and beyond," Ms. Kennedy Shriver said.
"With enormous conviction and unrelenting effort, Eunice Kennedy Shriver has labored on behalf of America's least-powerful people, those with mental retardation," President Ronald Reagan said, when presenting Ms. Kennedy Shriver with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984.