As the ladies of RunAllTheRaces get ready for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend presented by Cigna, we’re excited to share the inspirational stories of some of the members of #TeamCigna.
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Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 3.27.13 PMLaura Daka’s family immigrated to America from Albania in 1992, when her dad was only 16. Laura explains, “My Grandpa is my hero, because he came here with nothing and built a successful life for our family.” She won a speech contest at Andover Elementary school for her talk about her Grandpa and her other hero, Adriane Haslet-Davis- a ballroom dancer who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing and fought her way back. “She was so good on ‘Dancing with the Stars!’” says Laura.

She inherited her love of running from her dad Tony, who placed 2nd in Albania at age of 13, in the 800 meter run. Laura explains, “I joined Girls on the Run in 3rd grade, after my friend told me it was about much more than running. Girls on the Run teaches us good life lessons and opens us up to new experiences and friendships.” She now trains with her Dad daily, and her dream is running the Boston Marathon by the age of 16. Her dad says it can be tough to find time between work and school and family commitments, but he loves the time he spends running with his daughter.

Laura used to run short distances as fast as she could, but Girls on the Run taught her about stamina and longer distances. “I didn’t have a lot of stamina when I started GOTR, the coaches really encouraged me to keep going. I prefer running outside, if I’m on a treadmill I wonder where am I going, but when I get outside and start running I have no stress on me.”

Besides running, Laura enjoys doing math problems. She is one of the top dancers in the Holy Trinity Hellenic Dance Troupe in Orlando, and she enjoys gymnastics.

Girls on the Run Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a physical activity-based positive youth development (PYD) program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and competent coaches who are trained to teach lessons as intended.

As a result of Laura’s hard work and commitment to her health, The Cigna Foundation, a partner of GOTR, is providing Laura and her dad with an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World in January. As a symbol and extension of her health journey, she will participant in the Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, January 5.

“Enhancing the well-being of people and the places where they live directly connects to Cigna’s mission, “said Mary Engvall, Executive Director of the Cigna Foundation. “We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their best health, but sometimes those opportunities are limited by factors outside a person’s control. The Cigna Foundation’s philanthropic giving focuses on creating health equity to help people achieve their best possible personal health and enjoy living their best lives.”

Said Karen Allen, Executive Director of GOTR, “We are so proud to have the Cigna Foundation as a partner in helping our girls develop their physical and emotional health through our running program. They are providing Laura with a great opportunity to bring the confidence through competence lessons she’s learned to the Disney World course!”

Teacher Gina Grant nominated Laura to represent GOTR Disney Marathon opportunity, writing, “Laura is a very motivated and positive young girl. I met her this year through Girls on the Run and right away I knew she would be great for this opportunity. Her enthusiasm and spirit is portrayed on campus, and every time we meet for GOTR she pushes herself and her teammates to run more.”

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Thanks for following along –

The Ladies of Run All The Races
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Cigna_logo4Use #CignaRunTogether and #WDWMarathon to join the conversation on social media.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces, Instagram @RunAllTheRaces, and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Any questions, please reach out to us at runalltheraces@yahoo.com.  We’re happy to help!

Have you checked out our Podcast?  Give us a listen and let us know what you think: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/run-all-the-races/id1078046216?mt=2

Perfectly Goofy Gail, Delightful Dopey Kimberly, PhotoBomb Becca & California Kiley

COUNTDOWN TO NEXT runDisney RACE WEEKEND: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

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Meet Perfectly Goofy Gail
Perfectly Goofy Gail's 100th runDisney medal!

Perfectly Goofy Gail's 100th runDisney medal!

Perfectly Goofy Gail began getting active in 2005 with the goal of getting out of the house and loosing some weight... more

Meet Delightfully Dopey Kimberly
Thank you @runDisney for 7 years, 74 races, 102 medals and 708.2 magical miles!

Thank you @runDisney for 7 years, 74 races, 102 medals and 708.2 magical miles!

Delightfully Dopey Kimberly began running in 2008 with the single goal of crossing “running a marathon” off her bucket list... more

Meet PhotoBomb Becca
We don't call her PhotoBomb Becca for nothing...

We don't call her PhotoBomb Becca for nothing...

PhotoBomb Becca...more

Meet California Kiley
Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Minnie

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Minnie

California Kiley as you can probably guess hails from sunny Southern California... more

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