JUST TO THE NEXT LAMPPOST
“Just to the next lamppost.” “Just to that tree.” “Just make it to the next intersection.”
Our greatest achievements are often the product of a few, more manageable goals. For Andrea De Mello, the victim of a debilitating stroke, walking from one lamppost to the next led her down a path of rehabilitation that ended at the finish line of her 20th New York City Marathon.
But De Mello, like so many of us, got a little help. She worked with Dick Traum, the founder of Achilles International, a nonprofit that, today, provides free athletic training and support to more than 10,000 disabled athletes in 70 countries.
Traum founded Achilles because he knows how being disabled can affect one’s perception of themselves – and he knows what it’s like to overcome what he calls that “vulnerability”: he became the first amputee to finish the New York City Marathon in 1976. As he puts it, Achilles International changes “the way people perceive themselves” and the challenges they face.
Indeed, De Mello says, Achilles has had an immeasurable effect on her belief in herself and what she can achieve. She says in the CNN film above, “When I started with Achilles I could only walk from one lamppost to another lamppost and now I’ve done 20 New York City Marathons. Dick helped me realize that I can do anything in my life.”
Learn more about how Cigna is supporting Achilles International here.