Meet Jamie Staton's Virtual Running Team: Mile 1

Aaron Fournier &
Cicely Mannino

Name: Aaron Fournier
Hometown: Pembroke
Age: 38
Local Program: Capital Area Cougars
Sports: Alpine-Skiing, Aquatics, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Powerlifting & Soccer

In middle school, Aaron Fournier struggled to fit in. He had been told by his teachers and parents that he had to go to special classes in school. When Aaron thinks back to those days, he remembers a difficult time. “I didn’t understand,” he said. “I thought something was wrong with me and I didn’t know what or why.” 
 
At thirteen, Aaron started participating in Special Olympics. As he began to train and compete, he met lots of other people who were like him. Aaron began to make friends and gain confidence.
 
Two years after starting Special Olympics Aaron was selected to represent New Hampshire at the Special Olympics World Games in New Haven, Connecticut, where he competed in athletics. Looking back on that experience now, Aaron remembers how big the games felt, “I was so young, and I remember going to Opening Ceremonies and just thinking about how huge everything was. It was so great to see that I wasn’t the only person like me – that there were lots of other people all over the world just like me. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t that different.”
 
Today, Aaron is training to compete at the Special Olympics USA Summer Games in Seattle as a powerlifter. Aaron sees powerlifting as another opportunity to break stereotypes. “When I go to lift,” he said, “I think about proving people wrong. I don’t look like a person who lifts the kind of weight that I do.” Aaron is training hard and hoping to achieve a personal best in Seattle this summer. His goal is to bench 225 pounds, squat 345 pounds and dead lift 500 pounds.
Name: Cicely Mannino
Hometown: Milford
Age: 22
Local Program: Plus Pride
Sports: Basketball, Bowling & Floor Hockey

Cicely Mannino started in Special Olympics when she was just nine years old. For Cicely, Special Olympics is a place to meet friends, gain confidence and learn about sports. 

Cicely’s real passion, however, is for helping others. She volunteers as much of her time as she can. Cicely helps out at a local animal shelter cleaning and watering the animals. She also helps out at two nursing homes where she makes beds, delivers meals and participates in daily activities with the residents.

Cicely Mannino is a caring, quiet and compassionate young women. She loves Special Olympics and is very excited to represent New Hampshire on the basketball team at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle this summer. She is looking forward to making new friends and having new experiences – including flying without her parents for the first time!