Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eunice Shriver, R.I.P.

For my money, Eunice Shriver's legacy will outlast the aura of her famous family.

"She believed that people with intellectual disabilities could — individually and collectively — achieve more than anyone thought possible," the Shrivers' son, Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, said in a prepared statement yesterday. "This much she knew with unbridled faith and certainty. And this faith in turn gave her hope that their future might be radically different."

I understand that she was born with both a fortune and platform to accomplish great things, but to champion a population that was ignored and hidden away takes great determination. It also should be noted that Eunice acted with the understanding that her work would illuminate the plight of her older sister Rosemary and bring attention to her father Joe's culpability in Rosemary's situation.

Brave lady.. .

From the Cape Cod Times:

Trey Marbella, 36, Hyannis
Marbella loves to watch baseball, but when he suits up for Special Olympics games and practices, it's basketball all the way.

"It's just the joy of playing basketball. I don't know why," said Marbella, who moved south after graduating from the Riverview School in Sandwich. He came back to the Cape last year and lives in supportive housing. He has a job selling Cape Cod Times newspapers.

He played in a Special Olympics basketball tournament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester in February. He practices once a week at the Boys and Girls Club in Mashpee.

"In some ways, it's sort of like the regular Olympics," Marbella said. There are opening ceremonies and speeches. The athletes have a camaraderie that extends beyond team lines, he said.

"They have more passion than most people you see on TV," Marbella said. "Being in Special Olympics has taught me things about myself I wouldn't have known before. How to enjoy life."

Gail Carroll, 64, Hyannis
When Carroll marches in Special Olympics opening ceremonies, she carries a sign for CapeAbilities, the nonprofit Hyannis organization where she works and socializes.

The rest of the time she's carting around a red-and-black bowling ball that has helped her get scores in the 100s during Special Olympics bowling contests.

"Can you believe it's an eight-pounder?" asked Carroll, who has an apartment with a roommate in Hyannis. "I've been bowling since I was little. It is exciting. I like it."

She has a special shelf for the many medals she's won over the years. She bowls every Thursday with people from CapeAbilities to keep up her skills.

Katie Stubstad, 24, Sagamore
A Special Olympian since she was about 11 years old, Stubstad particularly enjoys the swim meets.

She competes in backstroke, free style and the relay. "Swimming is easy for me," says Stubstad.

The backstroke is her favorite, especially since her coach told her she could get good propulsion by reaching her arms up to the ceiling. She won some gold medals in a June competition in the state games in Boston, Stubstad said.

"Boston is fun to run around," said Stubstad, who lives at home with Kathy and Don Stubstad and her brother Tim. She works at the CapeAbilities Farm in Dennis and in the Hyannis office assembling welcome buckets for Cape visitors and at the Sandwich Post Office.

Amy Hastings, 30, Harwich
Hastings lives at home with her parents, Mary and Brian Hastings, and works part time at the Stop & Shop in Dennis and volunteers at Cape Cod Hospital.

Hastings has participated in Special Olympics since she was 10 or 11, said her mother, Mary Hastings. She's been to games in North Carolina, Iowa and Ireland, and has competed in soccer, gymnastics, tennis, skiing and cycling.

"I like a lot of people. I have tons of friends," Hastings said. "In Boston, for the state games, our team the Life Survivors team, we all went out for ice cream almost every night except for Sunday."

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