By Linda Mirdamadi, MD
Internal Medicine and Chief Wellness Officer
West Los Angeles
Special Olympics plays a very special role in my life and holds a special place in my heart. I have two wonderful daughters and my oldest daughter, Anna, who is now 17 was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
In 2004, I had the incredible honor of meeting Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver during a Women’s Conference for Change. Several people were manning a Special Olympics table at the event and I introduced myself. I said I was a physician and a mother with a child with special needs.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver turned around, introduced herself, and put her arm around me and said, “Let’s go for a walk. Tell me all about Anna.” At the end of our conversation, she said, “Linda don’t ever give up hope on her.” And she pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and wrote “Join Eunice Kennedy Shriver” on a flyer promoting the Special Olympics.
I kept that paper and I never gave up on Anna.
When I heard about Special Olympics coming to Los Angeles, I knew I had to volunteer and I knew I had to be a part of the team.
During the games, I met so many parents and I could just feel all that warmth and that love. When I met the athletes, it was the same thing. It was as if I was watching my own child. They were so inspirational.
Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things I do, and I was so proud to be part of this historical event and so honored to volunteer as a member of the Special Olympics Medical Team.
Volunteering plays an important role in my life. I have been giving back to my community since my early high school days! It’s just part of who I am. It’s personally gratifying and so rewarding to touch the lives of those in need.
Editor’s note: From a wellness perspective, Dr. Mirdamadi says that volunteering plays an important role in her life. How do you practice wellness? If you’d like to share your wellness story, please contact Denise Vastola at her Kaiser Permanente email address.