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Vt. Woman, Daughter Share Memory Of Meeting Shriver

A Vermont woman and her daughter who met Eunice Kennedy Shriver share their memories.
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A Vermont woman and her daughter who met Eunice Kennedy Shriver shared their memories Tuesday.

Shriver, sister to President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, died at a hospital in Hyannis, Mass., on Tuesday at the age of 88.

President Barack Obama called Shriver an "extraordinary woman," in part, for her work creating the Special Olympics, an organization that continues to change lives.

Kathy Laframboise and her daughter, Abby, met Shriver while on a flight to Alaska in 2001.

"I think I remember Abby saying something like, 'Thank you for doing the Special Olympics,' or, 'Thank you for doing what you're doing,' and they were both very humbled," Laframboise said.

Laframboise found the meeting a thrill because Abby is a Special Olympian, and Shriver created the Special Olympics more than 40 years ago.

"I was a little star-struck," she said. "I was like, this was a really important moment. She was very proud, very soft spoken, really minimizing what she had done."

Laframboise said meeting Shriver meant a lot to her. She said Shriver is the woman who gave her daughter a chance to fit in.

"She really has broken down barriers, making it OK to have a child who has special health needs, who has special intellectual disabilities and de-stigmatizing that and making it a kinder place to live," Laframboise said.

Abby, who's now 27, has competed in Special Olympics for 18 years, walking away with medals. Laframboise said the message behind the medals means much more.

"Many times, people with disabilities aren't feeling like they're accepted. They're ridiculed, they're picked on, they're called names, and it makes Special Olympians feel like we're all part of a team," Abby Laframboise said.

Shriver, who suffered a series of strokes in recent years, is survived by her husband, R. Sargent Shriver, five children and 19 grandchildren. A family spokesman said funeral arrangements will be announced Wednesday.

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