Today we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, a true icon of freedom and justice and a longtime supporter of Special Olympics. For decades, Nelson Mandela worked for equality in South Africa. After becoming President of South Africa, he also became a supporter of Special Olympics. Mandela described this as a time when "most South African children with disabilities lived in extreme poverty in inhospitable environments." Mandela, along with the Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation, worked with Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Special Olympics to reach out to people with intellectual disabilities and their families. In 2001, Mandela returned to where he had long been imprisoned, along with Special Olympics athletes from around the world. They lit the Special Olympics Flame of Hope as a symbol to all people with intellectual disabilities that freedom will come their way. We will forever be grateful.
About Christy White: I am the Director of Global Media and Public Relations for Special Olympics.