Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna

You may have heard about various marathons and other running events that happen at Walt Disney World in Florida.  You may even have participated in a few of them.  This weekend is a big one, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  Not only is the event this weekend, but this event is in its twenty-fifth year.  That means that people have been participating in this 26.2 mile event for a quarter of a century!

The marathon course will go through Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and ESPN Wide World of Sports.  That will be an exciting route with so much to see.  Well, there will be so much to see briefly as you breeze by.  For even more added fun, runners will get to see various Disney characters and 25th Anniversary entertainment along the route.

You can see that this event is presented to you by Cigna.  Maybe you are a client of Cigna.  You may have even seen the Cigna commercial on television with the TV Doctors of America.  If you have not, watch it now because it is cute and good for a laugh.

Cigna is an insurance company that serves a lot of folks and has many inspiring stories with joyful endings.  One story is about someone in the military who sustained an injury that went on to affect his life for decades.  I am choosing to share this story in part because it is incredible and in part because I have great respect for those who serve our country in small and big ways.

My father and two of my brothers served in the Navy and the Army.  One of my brothers is a wounded war vet who served in Egypt and then later in Iraq where he was wounded in action.  I am going to take a moment here to recognize Specialist Timothy Uebele because he gave a lot and lost a lot, and he is appreciated.  Thank you for your service to Timothy and all of the others who make that choice.

We were talking about Cigna and their inspirational stories, so let us take a look now at a man named Mark who has gone from long term disability ro running the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K.  Actually, I will let you read all about it.

Mark Harsanye, 58 years old and resident of Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas, figures the injury occurred more than 35 years ago during basic training in the United States Air Force. He climbed a 30ft tower when the wind took him. Gravity and the ground did rest, breaking his leg in two places.

“Over the years, normal wear and tear caught up with me,” said Mark. “In my 40s, my doctor warned me knee replacement surgery would be inevitable. I hoped that I could make it until 70, but the pain became unbearable. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

He researched the surgery, the recovery time, and talked with others about it. He felt fairly well prepared for the procedure and the journey back to health and to work in June 2017. Twelve weeks later, he grew impatient as his knee still had a lot of scar tissue. So, he opted for another surgery to remove scar tissue.

“Before the replacement, I thought hard work would get me back on my feet faster,” said Mark. “After surgery, it felt more like ‘what did I do?’ I’m competitive. When I saw other s recovering faster, I wanted to become better. An in-home physical therapist helped, but the second surgery helped me improve the flexibility of my knee.”

Mark couldn’t wait to get back to work. Getting a call from his Cigna vocational coach, Alicia Troski, he found a partner with the energy he needed to make even greater strides.

“He came ready to work,” said Alicia. “He didn’t want to be dependent on anyone. That mentality means a lot when overcoming a difficult recovery process. For some, it’s easy to quit and fall back into an easy chair. Not Mark. He remained focused on getting himself back.

”One of the resources Alicia offered, the Cigna customer referral program with Achilles International, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities participate in athletic events, encourages people like Mark to build up physical strength and stamina.

Cigna partners with organizations like Achilles International to help customers achieve their return to work goals by providing access to additional rehabilitation resources including ergonomic office equipment, software, education and accommodations to help customers stay safe and be productive at work, encouragement and support, resume review and job placement assistance.

“My employer has been supportive throughout my recovery process from accommodations to treatment,” said Mark. “If I needed a break to ice my knee, I could do it as I needed, when I needed. If I had to take off for therapy, I felt comfortable do so.”

As a result of his hard work and dedication to return to work, Cigna offered Mark the opportunity to participate in the Walt Disney World® 5K presented by Cigna on Thursday, January 4th as a member of Team Cigna.

“I have a plan – stretches, working my core, weight training,” said Mark. “If I did nothing, it would be like owning a sports car and letting it rot. I’m only going to get better by working at it.”

The Cigna Customer Referral Program with Achilles International demonstrates Cigna’s promise to partner with customers “Together, All the Way” along their unique health journey. When injury or illness occurs, Cigna helps them get back on track to achieve their goals.

“For Cigna customers, participating in a race represents a healthy milestone on the road to recovery, but also independence,” said

Alicia. “As people gain physical strength, they also build confidence, which can positively affect all areas of your life.”

“I’ve come far, but I see it as just the beginning,” said Mark. “I’m back and work because of Bethany and none of this would have been possible without Cigna. So many resources came together to make things happen at my own pace.”

Mark Harsanye
Resident of Henderson, Nevada, in Clark County (18 minutes outside of Las Vegas)
Cigna, long-term disability
Cigna customer referral program participant with Achilles International
Team Cigna guides:  Lisa Bacus, Cigna Chief Marketing Officer, and Stephen Cassell, Cigna Vice President of Branding
Race:  Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K

Have you had a life changing injury?  How inspiring is it to know that there could be hope with the right people behind you?  I hope that you enjoyed a chuckle with the commercial, that you took a moment to appreciate our service members, and that you enjoyed Mark’s story.  Will you be at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?  What other kinds of exercise do you do on your journey to better health?

40 Replies to “Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna”

  1. Thank you for your families service..my son’s a Marine..we appreciate you. May God bless these men with healing. What a great testimony to your companies service to our service men. Thank you. Ps I wish I could be at Disney cheering those on in this race💜👏

  2. Thank you, Tim, for you dedication and service to our country! Your sacrifice and also your family’s, is truly appreciated! ❤️

  3. Thank you for your service. As a Gulf War vet in Las Vegas near you, I felt a sincere sense of connection to your journey. Disney is an Amazing place. Cigna is a community standard of excellence. #vegasstrong

  4. Dawnmarie,
    You do an awesome job with your webcasting
    I look forward to catching the latest update on enjoyingthedays.com
    Keep you the great broadcasting
    Blessing, Jean

  5. Let me start of by saying way to go Mark!! He is Truly an inspiration. If he can get a knee replacement at 58 and make it to a 5K. Then I can turn my life around and make it to a 5K by next year with the Disney race as a motivation! What fun it will be to run around Disney.
    Working In the healthcare field for the last 14years, I have seen my fair share of health insurances, and CIGNA has always been one I’ve looked up to. Their dedication to the members that they serve is amazing.
    Good luck to Mark on his 5K and Thank you to Timothy for your Selfless service to our country.

  6. What an honor to hear the stories of Tim and Mark! As a RN, I often get to thank service members/veterans and their families for their sacrifices in person…what a blessing to me!
    As a sufferer of knee osteoarthritis, it would be fantastic to have people rooting for me and encouraging my progress! I am so impressed how Cigna supports members in being the best they can be.
    I will not be at the marathon, but will be rooting for everyone in spirit!

  7. I have never heard of this before, & I have had Cigna insurance in the past. It is great that Disney is partnering with them for this. I also found it nice to learn a little about your personal interest in the event by way of your brother. I appreciate his service. Bryan & my brother also were in the military, as well as many other members of my family.
    Thank you for sharing this article, it was very interesting.

  8. The marathon event will be a good medium to build people’s awareness of the benefits of insurance. Cigna is one of the big names around the world and it is of big capability in insurance service.

  9. Thank you to Tim and Mark and all others that served. You are truly an inspiration. It is wonderful to learn that Disney has partnered with a great company like Cigna. I loved the ad with the t.v. doctors!

  10. My daughter has been a regular participant out here in CA with all of the RunDisney events at Disneyland. We are super sad that they have discontinued it and will most likely be making plans to visit Florida so she can keep pursuing her goals. (Last run was the Tinkerbell Half-Marathon and she’s on track for a full marathon run!)

  11. I love when companies show personal interests in their clients and their stories. It makes you feel they care and understand their goals on a closer level. Good job Cigna!

  12. I am not a fan of running just to run typically I love to do it only when I am playing sports! But I must say all of the themed runs have peaked my interest. Have not tried one yet but one thru disney sounds like it would be an enjoyable one! I love being active in the gym with weight training and other cardio machines but nothing like being outdoors for the views!

  13. Thank you for your families service. The marathon sounds amazing! Good for Cigna for treating their customers like people they actually care about.

  14. I think the rehabilitation program is Cigna is terrific. When people experience debilitating injuries, they often get depressed and it’s hard for them to fight for their health again. Having someone come alongside you are partner with you is something all you need to get the motivation to get back up and fight for your good health again.

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