Eunice was a member of the Kennedy family, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver which started on her Maryland farm known as Timberlawn and, in 1968 evolved into the Special Olympics. Eunice is the only woman to have had her portrait appear, during her lifetime, on a U.S. coin – the 1995 commemorative Special Olympics silver dollar.
A longtime advocate for children’s health and disability issues, Shriver was a key founder of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a part of the National Institutes of Health, in 1962, and has also helped to establish numerous other health-care facilities and support networks throughout the country. In 1982, Shriver founded the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring at University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
In 1953 Eunice married, Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., who later served as the United States Ambassador to France and the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1972 U.S. presidential election. Together they had five children, Robert, Maria, Timothy, Mark and Anthony.
Eunice received countless awards during her lifetime due to her dedication to charity work. These included; The presidential medal of freedom in 1984, the Civitan International World Citizenship Award, the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 2002, and a papal knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
In 2009, aged 88, Eunice passed away. President Barack Obama remarked after Eunice’s death that she was “an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation—and our world—that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit.”