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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 12, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Eunice Kennedy Shriver: a woman who changed lives

Thanks from the world’s Boo Radleys

Editor, The Times:

On behalf of my daughter Cami, I would like to thank Eunice Kennedy Shriver for creating the Special Olympics [“Champion for the disabled dies after series of strokes,” Times, news, Aug. 12.]

When I grew up in the ’60s, people with disabilities were invisible, hidden away and warehoused. As in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the Boo Radleys of the world were destined to live in darkness, conveniently out of the public eye.

Mrs. Shriver changed all of that. Her experience with her sister’s profound handicap was about to change everything. Her dream: Take the compromised, the infirm, the “not-enough” and place them in an athletic arena for the world to see their courage — the definition of outrageous vision.

Ironically, people who were never intended to compete for anything (let alone athletics) changed the world’s perception.

So Boo Radleys of the world, wherever you are, know that the world has changed. Know that hearts have changed. All because of a woman who saw something others did not see, or chose not to see. She saw how thousands of lives could be changed.

And because of one woman, my daughter has a medal for the 10-meter walk. Amazing! God bless Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

— Gregory Burns, Kirkland

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