Sargent Shriver 1915-2011 R.I.P.

Written by  //  January 20, 2011  //  Health & Health care, U.S.  //  No comments

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Remembering Sargent Shriver
UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth on the passing of Sargent Shriver: “I am saddened by the loss of Peace Corps Founder and Former Vice Presidential Candidate Sargent Shriver. Throughout his life, Shriver inspired men and women everywhere to share their time and talents with people around the world. His vision led to the birth of America’s first global citizens, creating a new and powerful export of American compassion and international service. His example of service helped to foster peace at the most important level — between people in their home and communities. Shriver’s leadership will continue to motivate future generations to work together to create a better world.” UN Foundation (1/19) 

R. Sargent Shriver, Peace Corps Leader, Dies at 95
R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, a United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died on Tuesday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95.

Mr. Shriver was never elected to any national office. To political insiders, his calls for public service in the 1960s seemed quixotic at a time when America was caught up in a war in Vietnam, a cold war with the Soviet Union and civil rights struggles and urban riots at home. But when the fogs of war and chaos cleared years later, he was remembered by many as a last vestige of Kennedy-era idealism.
“Sarge came to embody the idea of public service,” President Obama said in a statement.
Mr. Shriver’s impact on American life was significant. On the stage of social change for decades, he brought President Kennedy’s proposal for the Peace Corps to fruition in 1961 and served as the organization’s director until 1966. He tapped into a spirit of volunteerism, and within a few years thousands of young Americans were teaching and working on public health and development projects in poorer countries around the world.

In 2008, PBS broadcast a documentary, “American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver.” A children’s book by Maria Shriver, “What’s Happening to Grandpa?,” was published in 2004, explaining the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. In May 2009, HBO presented a four-part documentary on Alzheimer’s. Ms. Shriver was the executive producer of one segment, “Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?”

Shriver family gave voice to ‘silent epidemic’
Public figure’s battle with Alzheimer’s helped normalize disease
Battling Alzheimer’s disease is often a private struggle, with few champions who speak on behalf of patients and their loved ones. But the family of R. Sargent Shriver, who died Tuesday, helped shed light on the disease and spur support and research for its causes.
Since his diagnosis in 2003, the family of the influential public servant and founder of the Peace Corps had sought to change the public perception of people with Alzheimer’s so they would not be viewed as victims, said geriatrician William Thomas, professor at UMBC‘s Erickson School of Aging.
“Instead, he was a person living with Alzheimer’s, and that’s an absolutely crucial distinction,” Thomas said. “What the Shrivers were about were sort of normalizing this disease. It is important for people of stature, like the Shrivers, to step into the light and to be seen and to tell their story, because so many other people feel like they can’t do that.”
Thomas calls Alzheimer’s a “silent epidemic.” The number of people with the disease is growing, but they are often an invisible group, living many times in nursing homes, away from society at large.
The Shriver family’s deep involvement with Alzheimer’s advocacy elevated the visibility of the disease. Shriver’s daughter, the TV journalist and former first lady of California, Maria Shriver, wrote a book, “What’s Happening to Grandpa,” explaining the disease to children, and donated its proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association.
She was also an executive producer of HBO‘s 2009 documentary series, “The Alzheimer’s Project.” It includes a segment for children whose families are dealing with the illness. It was called, “Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?”
She also published “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s.” The 2010 study details the $300 billion-a-year impact the illness is having on the nation, and especially on women, who constitute 65 percent of its victims, and 60 percent of caregivers.
In a May 2009 interview with Larry King on CNN, Maria Shriver said her father no longer recognized her.
“I introduce myself to him every time I go visit him,” she said. “I say, ‘Hi Daddy. I’m Maria, and I’m your daughter.’ And he says, ‘You are. Oh my goodness. That’s so great. Glad to meet you.’ ”
“It teaches you … to live in the moment, to accept the person who’s sitting right in front of you, and to stop wishing that some things were different,” she said.

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