E. TN Dad runs Disney Marathon with amputee Veteran

"My daily inspiration is my nephew Parker. He began his difficult journey as a neonate, defying the odds after a courageous battle with bacterial meningitis. Survival came with many lifelong obstacles, including cerebral palsy, leaving him unable to walk or speak. Parker incessantly pushes ahead to bravely navigate his rocky life path with a permanent smile on his face and pure love in his heart. He radiates joy and brings it to all those around him. Parker fuels me with courage to overcome barriers in the same manner."

Aaron has always been active in sports and played Lacrosse at the University of Tennessee. "After college I started running a lot more, focusing on diet and making lifestyle modifications. Parker is now 6 years old, and thanks to a recent surgery he can stand up assisted or with his braces. Seeing his efforts makes me want to go to the next level with my running. He's given me a different perspective on what matters and what's trivial. He's also made me a better father to my children -- Eva (4) and son Abe (just turned 1).

"I never thought I'd be able to run a half marathon, and then I did it. Then I couldn't imagine running a full, and next thing I'm running Boston this year, so you just have to keep at it, that's what I learned from Parker." Aaron even ran the Ragnar race from Chattanooga to Nashville, during which he met a lot of colleagues from other offices in TN. He's thrilled to head to Orlando as part of Team Cigna for the Walt Disney World® Full Marathon. His wife Casey, along with Eva and Abe (who is obsessed with Mickey Mouse!), are coming to cheer him on.

Aaron's tips for runners: "Be consistent with your training and follow a regimen. I write it down and hold myself accountable. I'm a big fan of training for the race at hand. For example, our running group did Rim to Rim to Rim, a 48 mile up and down run at the Grand Canyon. We trained together in the Smokey Mountains. Surround yourself with people who share your passion. My circle of friends meets before work to train. If someone misses a run, we check up on them to see how they're feeling."

Aaron is on the Cigna-HealthSpring Pharmacy team, which reviews cases of customers with complex health issues to ensure they are on the best medication regimen to fit their needs and allow them to stay happy, healthy, and home with their family. His Cigna Health Coach LuAnne Brunello has been working with him to set goals like running the Boston Marathon. "She has been instrumental in many ways, like focusing on nutrition, making sure to stay hydrated by keeping track of what you drink, having a sleep log, visiting my PCP for my yearly checkups even though I think I am fine, and being consistent with physical activity not only focusing on running but also weight lifting and stretching to reduce injury. We have scheduled meetings on the calendar that I know are coming up which gave me extra motivation to continuously move forward."