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Preparing for a marathon takes months of training. The physical and mental commitment it requires places it among one of the hardest things a person can do when it comes to a physical challenge. For those recovering from a serious injury, the thought of running again can be insurmountable.

In 2012, Stefan LeRoy was 21 years old when he served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan. He was rushing to help an injured friend, who had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED), when he too, stepped on an IED. After losing his left leg above the knee and the right leg below the knee, LeRoy was sent to Walter Reed Military Center to begin the long recovery process. That same year, Army Master Sergeant General Cedric King was in his third deployment in Afghanistan, when his platoon fell under machine gun fire, and King stepped on an IED. Eight days later, he woke up to learn that he had sustained disfigurement on one hand and both of his legs were amputated.

During their recoveries, these two men discovered Achilles International, a non-profit helping people with all type of disabilities participate in mainstream running events to promote personal achievement. The Achilles Freedom Team is specifically for athletes with disabilities who have served in armed forces. Achilles reaches out to wounded veterans in the hospital and in their local communities to provide them with the opportunity to train during their recovery period, encouraging them towards athletic achievement.

Cigna® is partnering with Achilles to help them further this mission. The global health services company is proudly committed to supporting veterans, which is reflected in Cigna’s hiring practices and strong employee networking group for veterans. Since 2014, Cigna has been named every year as a Best Place to Work for Vets by Military Times magazine. And, in addition to Cigna employees serving as guides alongside Achilles athletes in major races, in 2014, the Cigna Foundation provided a $100,000 World of Difference grant to Achilles International to fund research on whether running can improve mental and physical development for children with autism. The Cigna Foundation also supports other veterans’ initiatives, including the Community Solutions Zero 2016 project, a national effort to end veterans’ homelessness.

For many years, David Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna as well as an accomplished triathlete, has inspired others around him to persevere when it comes accomplishing their goals. For his fifth year as an Achilles International running guide, this April, Cordani guided LeRoy through his first full marathon race. Earlier this year, Cordani served as a guide to King at the Walt Disney World® Marathon. Altogether, he has guided ten times with the Achilles International’s Freedom Team.

Cigna is committed to staying by veterans’ sides through every step of their journey, from getting them to the starting line to crossing the finish line, whether it’s a race, a new job or their health care.

Read more about Cigna’s relationship with Achilles International and the company’s commitment to veterans.

The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. Achilles International is an independent company. © 2016 Cigna