As 2009 comes quickly to a close, I must take time to remember and reflect on two tremendous losses impacting the special needs community this year.

My heart goes out to the families of Senator Edward Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics and special needs sibling extraordinaire. The world, especially for those facing the tremendous daily challenges of special needs, is in a much-better state of affairs because these two amazing human beings gave so unselfishly to others throughout their lives. Their choices have positively impacted the lives of millions of people with and without disabilities worldwide.

In a world now shamefully focused on reality television antics and granting instant fame for nothing of lasting value, I, for one, will be forever grateful for the outstanding examples of these two individuals, and for their remarkable courage. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we take the focus off of ourselves and onto a worthy cause.

Thank you, both.
Photos from the Down Syndrome Association of LA 2009 Buddy Walk by Judy Winter . Used with permission.

Judy Winter