Media Release: Cigna Partners With Achilles International NZ
Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Ltd (Cigna) announced today its partnership with Achilles International New Zealand. Achilles provides New Zealanders with disabilities the opportunity to participate alongside able-bodied athletes in local mainstream events like Cigna Round the Bays, as well as at high-profile international events like the New York Marathon.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with Achilles, it’s a great cause and the athletes have some really inspiring stories,” says Cigna CEO Lance Walker. “Achilles is a great fit with our commitment to help New Zealanders improve their lives through health and wellbeing solutions. Cigna Corporation in the United States has been collaborating with Achilles since 2008, building partnership programs with communities, schools and businesses, including individual coaching, personal training and support groups that help Achilles Athletes regain strength and confidence.”
“Achilles will be the official charity of Wellington’s Cigna Round the Bays fun run,” adds Lance. “Now anyone who enters Cigna Round the Bays can contribute to this wonderful cause, either through adding a donation to their registration or by donating on the day. Anyone can donate to Achilles through their official Givealittle fundraising page.”
On top of becoming official charity partner, Cigna are gifting Achilles naming rights of the half marathon portion of the event, making the official title the Cigna Achilles Half Marathon. This distance sits alongside the Snapper 10km and the 6.5km Fun Run & Walk.
“Achilles is thrilled to be supported by a global company like Cigna,” says Achilles International New Zealand Chairman, Peter Loft. “We’ve just set up a Wellington Achilles chapter so that we can start preparing for Cigna Round the Bays next year. We hold fortnightly training runs at Oriental Parade on Sunday mornings, and I’d encourage anyone of any age or ability to come on down and join us.”
One way that people can participate with Achilles is to guide a disabled athlete. “I’m going to be guiding Wellington Achilles member Richard Warwick around Cigna Round the Bays,” says Lance. “This will involve running the whole way next to Richard, considering his safety, encouraging him (or maybe he’ll be encouraging me!) when he needs it and basically supporting him to make it across the finish line.”
Richard suffered a brain bleed when he was 16 which paralyzed the left hand side of his body. He was told he would never be able to run, and so accepted that his days of playing football and running on the beach were behind him. At age 50, Richard, a father of five, heard about Achilles through a friend and decided to challenge himself to run again.
“At 50 years of age I’m starting a journey of small steps with Achilles, where I will not just participate but will find out how far I can go in the world of athletics - life for all of us should be defined by what we can do now not what we can’t,” says Richard.
Find out more about Achilles International New Zealand at http://www.achillesnewzealand.org/
Find out more about Cigna Round the Bays at http://wellingtonroundthebays.co.nz/
027 836 7014 or (04) 978 9555
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