Maria Shriver: How I Relate to Special Olympians
06/25/2011 AT 03:00 PM EDT
A member of the International Board of Special Olympics, Shriver, 55, wrote about how she can relate to the athletes participating in the Special Olympics World Games, which kick off Saturday in Athens.
"My friend, Special Olympian Eddie Barbanell, wrote me a beautiful note before I traveled to Athens that made me feel so good," she blogged. "He said that he knew I was going through a rough time but he wanted me to know that I 'will never be left out.'"
"Special Olympians, and people with intellectual disabilities in general, have experienced the feeling of being left out over and over again," Shriver wrote. "This makes them wise teachers on this topic. I thought it was poignant that Eddie was the one who delivered this message to me."
"Thousands of people – family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and many people I've never met – have reached out to me recently with loving, uplifting, hopeful and kind messages," she continued. "But he was the only one who wrote, 'You will never be left out.'
Looking forward to Saturday night's Opening Ceremony and the parade of 7,000-some athletes, Shriver added that being in Athens, "There is an incredibly strong spirit of unity here. My brother, Tim, talks often about launching a 'Dignity Revolution' throughout the world and you can definitely feel that in the air."