Tag Archive for walt disney world 5k

Sonya Hazel – car accident left her with a serious break but now she is recovering and is out to run the Walt Disney World 5k!

Hi All! Just wanted to put up another inspirational article shared by Cigna. 

Cigna is the primary sponsor of the Walt Disney World Marathon event in January and they have invited me to take part in a Blogger / Social Media Meet Up over the weekend. I am super excited about that!

The article today is the story of Sonya Hazel – who was involved in a car accident with a distracted driver and through therapy, hard work and help from Cigna is coming to Walt Disney World in January to run the 5k race at the Walt Disney World Marathon.

I hope you enjoy the article.


Sonya Hazel, 42 years old and resident of Riverdale, Ga. near Atlanta, didn’t have a chance to avoid that truck on February 23, 2017. The driver attempted to pass her while texting and driving. Like many distracted drivers, he misjudged the distance knocking Sonya’s car out of control. Her vehicle finally came to a stop after hitting a passenger van and breaking a highway wall. When the police officer arrived on the scene, she could hear him talking to the dispatcher. Judging by the vehicle, he thought she died in the crash.

“Before the officer arrived, I couldn’t feel my legs and, as silly as it sounds, I remember thinking my husband would be so upset when he saw the car,” said Sonya. “When the officer ducked down to see inside the vehicle, I startled him when I spoke.”

The emergency room doctor thought she might have gotten away with just a sprain and applied a temporary cast. When she visited the orthopedic surgeon, he took x-rays and found a serious break. The injury caused so much swelling that she needed to wait several weeks until April before surgery could be performed. The mental scars might last the longest.

“To this day, I haven’t been able to drive my car very far,” said Sonya. “The few times I’ve driven, I just pray and play loud music to focus on driving and everything around me.”

Following four to six weeks of therapy that ended in October, she said she felt about 85 percent back. As a mom of five children including four adults and one seven-year-old daughter, she feels the hole of that extra 15 percent still ahead of her.

Sonya Hazel – 5K – Cigna Run Together

“I still can’t do certain things,” said Sonya. “Before the accident, I was always active. It’s been a real adjustment for my daughter. I’ll know I’m back at 100 percent when I’m able to keep up with her and run around with my grandson when he’s born next April.”

On the road to recovery and mentally itching to return to work, she asked more information on Cigna’s vocational coaching program. Soon after, she received a call from Bethany Roefs, her Cigna vocational coach, who offered assistance.

“Bethany comforts and encourages me throughout this process to help me get back to work,” said Sonya. “I feel she knows me and cares about my situation. She’s been my liaison between my employer and me and has been right there throughout everything.”

“From the beginning, Sonya’s top goals included returning to work,” said Bethany. “Making sure she stayed on track, I helped coordinate between her doctor and employer to make sure she found the right return to work plan that allowed her to fully recovery without a setback.”

Sonya’s looking forward to returning to work and getting back on track with her career.

“The day of the accident, my boss planned to talk with me about a promotion,” said Sonya. “Now, I’m looking forward to just earning a full paycheck again.”

One of the resources Bethany offered, the Cigna customer referral program with Achilles International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities participate in athletic events, helps people like Sonya 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.

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

“When Bethany talked about my progress and asked if I felt ready for a 5K, I assumed she meant a local race,” said Sonya. “Then she told me Disney – surprised doesn’t quite say it. I’m grateful and see it as a challenge to get my body over that last physical hurdle.”

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. She will be guided by Joan Harvey, vice president of consumer health engagement for Cigna, on the race course.

“For Cigna customers, participating in a race represents a healthy milestone on the road to recovery, but also independence,” said Bethany. “As people gain physical strength, they also build confidence, which can positively affect all areas of your life.”

“At one time I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk without a cane,” said Sonya. “Look at me now getting ready for a 5K in Walt Disney World. Once I’m able to return to work, I’m really on my way back to the old Sonya again.”


Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed the article.

Good luck to Sonya on the 5k race!

3.5 miles yesterday and 5 miles today – with my son joining in for 1

I managed to squeak in 3.5 Dopey Challenge training miles last night on the treadmill after I thought I had lost my opportunity to get the miles in earlier in the day. So that was a nice surprise…time and energy at the same time!

I then started this morning with some pool and hot tub time to get a relaxing start to the day before my wife, Heather, had to head out.

She took our daughter (K) with her so it was a good opportunity to grab our son (T) and get him moving and excited to start training for the 10k race during the Disney World Marathon weekend.

The four of us are signed up for the 5k on the Thursday, T and I are doing the 10k and then I have the half and full to round out the Dopey Challenge for the weekend.

It should be an interesting trip but to make sure T finds it enjoyable, I need to make sure he gets trained up and stays excited about the race. He has done a couple 5ks before but it would be good if he could do the 10k with energy left over to have fun that day.

So training it is!

In the end he did 1 mile on Heather’s treadmill (which I am not allowed to touch in case I break it…again). He did some running and some walking and tried a bit of speed to test himself out. And I watched to make sure he was being safe. (full treadmill safety briefing supplied before he got on) He did great and maintained his enthusiasm, which is phenomenal.

I did 5 miles on the more robust treadmill (that I have still managed to break once…so far) getting in some speed work. This was good – while I am not as fast as I once was, the speed work does help you feel more alive. A very helpful thing to do to get past what can seem like trudging when doing longer runs on the treadmill.

A good couple days of running as I start getting myself properly motivated to train again.

Weight on the other hand is odd – my weight jumped 3 pounds in 2 days?? I believe this is due to stress and anxiety so I am really focusing on trying to relax more to back off the stress. I am also starting to more closely regiment what I am eating to help both the stress and the weight.

Stay tuned for more!!