Maria Shriver is a niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. She was born on November 6, 1955, to her parents Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her mother was the sister of JFK. Sargent Shriver was a diplomat and Eunice was a social worker, philanthropist, and founder of the Special Olympics, per JFK Library. In fact, the idea for the creation of the Special Olympics came from a summer camp that Eunice created at her own home in Maryland with the aim of helping children with disabilities explore all of the incredible things of which they were capable.
Until her passing at 88 years old in 2009, Eunice remained a member of the Special Olympics Board of Directors. Over the course of her life, she was endowed with an impressive array of awards for her work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Legion of Honor, and the Association of Art Museum Directors Humanitarian Award, along with several other distinctions.
After Eunice passed away, Maria Shriver spoke with Oprah about the experience of losing her inspiring mother. While the loss was, of course, heartbreaking, Shriver managed to allow that loss to help her continue to grow into the type of woman who would make her mother proud. “I’ve always heard a saying that you’re never, you know, truly a full-fledged woman until your mother passes,” Maria revealed during an appearance on Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sessions.”