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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ex-Wife Maria Shriver and Her Battle Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Published 04/13/2024, 12:45 PM EDT

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Bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ex-wife Maria Shriver,  has been thrust into the public eye not just for her notable lineage but also for her battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Shriver’s life had been marked by both privilege and challenges.

While Shriver’s career has been illustrious, with her work as a journalist and author earning her respect and acclaim, it’s her advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and awareness that has perhaps become her most profound legacy.

Maria Shriver’s early life

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Maria Shriver, born on November 6, 1955, in Chicago, grew up in a family deeply involved in politics and public service. Her parents were Sargent Shriver, a politician, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who came from the popular Kennedy family. Maria’s uncle was John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. From an early age, she was surrounded by influential figures and a spirit of service.

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Shriver pursued her education at Georgetown University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in American Studies in 1977. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for writing and journalism. She later delved into broadcast journalism, inspired by her experiences working on her father’s vice presidential campaign and spending time with journalists.

In her career, Maria Shriver achieved notable success as a journalist. She received prestigious awards such as the Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards for her outstanding work in journalism. She is also a bestselling author, with books like “Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Into the Real World” and children’s books such as “What’s Wrong With Timmy?” and “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” She also co-anchored NBC’s Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics and made significant contributions to news programs like CBS Morning News and Dateline NBC.

Besides her career achievements, Maria Shriver is primarily known for her advocacy work. She is a strong supporter of the Special Olympics, an organization that her mother helped create, and serves on their International Board. Additionally, Maria has been deeply involved in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.

When pain becomes a path to helping others

Another significant moment came when her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003. This fueled her passion to fight for a cure and help affected families. Since then, Maria has tirelessly championed the cause, dedicating herself to raising awareness and driving progress in Alzheimer’s research and support.

In 2009, Maria Shriver took her advocacy to another level by co-founding The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the disease’s disproportionate impact on women and funding research to better understand its causes and potential treatments. Through her organization and her own personal efforts, Shriver has become a leading voice in the fight against Alzheimer’s, using her platform to educate others and drive progress in the field.

She produced “The Alzheimer’s Project,” a special program that earned her accolades and recognition for addressing important social issues through television. But Shriver’s connection to Alzheimer’s is not just professional; it’s deeply personal. Watching her father’s decline and experiencing the toll the disease took on her family undoubtedly fueled her determination to make a difference. Since Alzheimer’s is a genetically transmitted disease, she knows the risk she is at.

During an old interview with the Fisher Center For Alzheimer Research Foundation, Maria Shriver talked about “The Alzheimer’s Project”. She said, “The project was made by HBO, and it was Sheila Nevins and John Hoffman’s idea. Back in 2004, I wrote a book about Alzheimer’s for kids and suggested making a special about it to HBO. But they didn’t think it was the right time. Then, when they saw more and more people affected by Alzheimer’s, they changed their minds.

She continued and said, “They called me back and asked if I still wanted to do it. I said yes, and we got started. They decided to make it a big project covering science, kids, caregivers, and living with the disease. They also made a book and DVD. It turned out even better than I hoped.” Even now Shriver and Patrick Schwarzenegger her eldest son work for the social cause.

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Patrick Schwarzenegger and his mother’s brand ‘MOSH’

In 2021, Maria Shriver and her eldest son Patrick Schwarzenegger started MOSH, a brain-boosting protein bar company, aimed at selling directly to customers. Their goal was to help people’s brain health and raise awareness about diseases like Alzheimer’s. Now, there’s exciting news from the actor of “Midnight Sun” that would make the Schwarzenegger family proud. MOSH has raised $3 million in series A funding.

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Plus, they plan to expand their products and sell them in stores. The mother and son duo has worked hard to make MOSH successful. In 2023, they upgraded the protein bars with input from health experts. Starting MOSH during COVID-19 was tough for Maria Shriver and Patrick. When the bars hit shelves, the “Moxie” actor said it made his mom proud.

Furthermore, Maria Shriver continues to be an inspiration, using her own journey with Alzheimer’s to further amplify the urgency of finding a cure. Through her candidness about her experience and her unwavering commitment to the cause, Maria Shriver stands as a beacon of hope for countless individuals and families affected by this relentless disease.

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Written by:

Arpita Shrivastava

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Arpita Shrivastava is a bodybuilding writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in tracking the lifestyles of bodybuilders. A master’s degree holder in Mass Communication, Arpita is a frequent contributor to coverage about her idols Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. She likes going behind the scenes to understand the nitty-gritty of building a shredded physique.
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Edited by:

Gokul Pillai