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Special Olympian Remembers Shriver

GUY RAZ, host:

We leave you this afternoon with another remembrance of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Since she died on Tuesday, many, many tributes have poured in, but we wanted to share these thoughts from someone whose life Eunice Kennedy Shriver transformed when she founded the Special Olympics for people with mental disabilities.

Thirty-one-year-old David Egan was born with Down syndrome. He's competed in the Special Olympics since he was eight years old. And this week, we visited David, and his mom Cathleen(ph) at their home in Vienna, Virginia.

Mr. DAVID EGAN (Special Olympian): Welcome to the Egan family household. I'm going to my room, where I go and just look back at all the years that I have participated in Special Olympics, and you're going to see some Special Olympics medals, gold, bronze and silver, more than I could ever count right now.

Ms. CATHLEEN EGAN: About 500 of them.

Mr. EGAN: Almost 500. I can't say exact.

Ms. EGAN: He did swimming, then speed skating.

Mr. EGAN: And then from there, I was into other sports like soccer, ice-skating and softball, and I also do throwing, as well, too. I'm just one of many who are involved in Special Olympics. It's always been great to me. I call it a family. I call it a home away from home, and it's pretty great how Eunice Kennedy Shriver made that happen.

A few media shows talked about that Eunice Kennedy Shriver was in the hospital in Cape Cod. I didn't know how everyone was going to turn out. I remember when I was getting ready to go to work that morning, my mom came to my room and talked to me about it.

Ms. EGAN: I said, David, put on the news. Eunice passed away. She went to the finish line, and she won the gold medal.

Mr. EGAN: And that she earned it. She's always been there for us. Thank you, Eunice Shriver.

Ms. EGAN: You're a good guy, David. We're proud of you.

RAZ: That's Special Olympian David Egan and his mom, Cathleen Egan, remembering Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Selena Simmons-Duffin reports on health policy for NPR.