Cigna Helps Veterans Heal Wounds of War Through Running

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Cigna sponsors and runs with members of Achilles Freedom Team at 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Achilles enables people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics

As the last American troops leave Iraq in time for the holidays, many will need help transitioning back to civilian life, restoring their confidence and building their future. Because running and physical activity have proven to improve physical and emotional health — helping wounded veterans and others with disabilities return to normal lives — Cigna is proud to sponsor and run with members of the Achilles Freedom Team during the Walt Disney World(R) Marathon from January 5-8, 2012.

The Cigna Foundation made it possible for members of Achilles International to take part in the 13.1 mile Walt Disney World(R) HalfMarathon in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Jan. 7, 2012. Cigna Chief Executive Officer David M. Cordani and Cigna employees will serve as guides, running side-by-side with the wounded veterans and other athletes with disabilities to help them complete the course.

Here is a look at the six runners from the Achilles Freedom Team who will run the Walt Disney World(R) HalfMarathon. The wounded veterans include:

  •  LCpl Matias Ferreira, 22, is originally from Atlanta and now lives in Rockville, Maryland. Ferreira is a Marine who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan in January 2011.
  •  GySgt Barbie Brown, 37, was diagnosed with breast cancer while deployed in Afghanistan in February 2011 and has run during radiation and chemotherapy treatments. She recently underwent a double mastectomy. Brown, a Marine, is from Scranton, Pennsylvania and lives now in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.
  • Lt Cameron Kerr, 24, originally from Stowe, Massachusetts, now lives in Falls Church, Virginia. Kerr lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2010 with the U.S. Army.
  • SSgt Michael Fradera, Ret., 34, of Lakeland, Florida, is an Army veteran who lost both legs in combat near Baghdad in 2007.

Other members of Achilles who will run the Walt Disney World(R) HalfMarathon include:

  • Matt Turner, 46, of Queens, New York, is visually impaired.
  • Bruce Stoddard, 52, of Denver lost his vision in a car accident five years ago

“We are inspired by this team of extraordinary people and honored to work with them. Their stories demonstrate the potential of immense inner strength in each individual. We hope our support of the Achilles runners will help them continue to live life to the fullest,” Cordani said.

The Walt Disney World Marathon, presented by Cigna, is one of six signature races that are a part of the runDisney series taking place throughout the year at the Walt Disney World(R) Resort and Disneyland(R) Resort.

  • Events & Attractions Coming to Disney World in January/February 2012 (
  • Runners Set Their Sights New Features for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (


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Chip is the owner, editor, and writer of Chip and Company. When he is not writing about Disney News or Planning Tips, you will find him counting down the days to his next Disney Vacation.
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