Tattoo via Pinky Darling
“Great! I have cancer.” Robert Weiss a computer engineer of Boyton Beach, FL wasn’t being sarcastic. In 2011, he was told he had Crohn’s Disease. All the symptoms pointed to the disease, but something in his gut told him it was something else. In October 2012, he went to a specialist and discovered he was right.
Not many would say a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is lucky, but his doctor said it was almost too late. Over the past year of his recovery, which included chemo and several surgeries, he started working with Victoria Baker, a Cigna vocational rehabilitation counselor, who recommended he participate in the Achilles Cigna Customer Referral Program. The program provides Cigna long term disability customers access to training resources and the ability to participate in mainstream athletic events as a member of Achilles International.
“Vicki was my guardian angel,” recalled Robert. “I felt disconnected and she helped me reconnect to normal life.”
As recognition for his hard work, Cigna is sponsoring Robert to run in the Walt Disney World Family Fun Run (5K) on January 9 in Orlando. It will be Robert’s first race and one of his last healthy milestones on his road to recovery before being able to return to work. He will be among 28 other Achilles athletes in Walt Disney World that Cigna is sponsoring.
Robert’s inspiration is his two children, Melissa, 13, and Ethan, 10. They will be joining him in the race, but neither knows he has cancer. He credits Cigna, Achilles and his employer NextEra for his success.
“I want to feel in control, but God is in control. My kids anchor my focus on recovering,” said Robert. “I look forward to going to the park with my kids again.”
Cigna is sponsoring 28 Achilles athletes at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Achilles is a non-profit organization that focuses on helping people with disabilities “return to life.” Team Cigna runners, including Cigna’s chief executive officer David Cordani, will pair with Achilles athletes to serve as guides during the 5K and Disney Half Marathon. This year’s Achilles athletes include 20 adults, five children and three Achilles Cigna Customer Referral Program athletes, which includes Robert.
To learn more about Cigna’s work in Disney and see some of the other inspirational stories from our relationship with Achilles International, visit http://www.cigna.com/runDisney.
As a fellow Disneyphile and lover of all things runDisney I have been eagle-eyeing the Disney Parks Blog looking for that elusive post announcing the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet Up. I know a lot of you have been doing the same. Lot’s of F5ing and refreshing. Alerts set up on your Twitter account. Info at the ready to copy and paste into your email account.
Not every runDisney race has a meet up scheduled around it. The Tower of Terror 10 Miler has not had a meet up attached to it. Nor has The Expedition Everest Challenge. We were just recently gifted with the very first nighttime runDisney Meet Up for the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
It’s really insane the amount of time that goes into planning each and every runDisney race weekend. I had the chance to talk with Michelle Maretti last year about the year long process of getting “the World” race-ready for us. You can read about all the logistics here:
That being said, I had the chance to speak with runDisney today and can announce that there will not be an official meet up for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. You can untether yourself from your PC and relax. I know this news will come as a disappointment to some of you. But let’s look on the bright side. We have brand new races coming our way! runDisney knows how passionate we all are about these meet ups. They love hosting them and get great feedback and intraction with us…the runners. Rest assured…I was told that there WILL be future meet ups. The future looks bright! There are already so many things to do at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend besides the meet up. Four parks to explore. 4 endurance events, including a brand new 10k race. Kids races. Pasta in the Park Party. Special breakfast events. A Cool Down Party. And a four day Health and Fitness Expo chocked full of merchandise and seminars.
I hope to meet some of you in person next weekend! I love runDisney and the runDisney community. It’s definitely enriched my life. If you see me anywhere…even lying down on the side of the road during Dopey…please come over and say hi. I’d love to meet you! RUN HARD! SEE YOU OUT ON THE COURSE!