2014-10-31 / People

Resident is a ‘Community Champion’

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Ahmed Cianguilli accepted the Community Champions award at the Molina Medicaid Solutions ceremony in Augusta. Cianguilli, a stroke survivor and a Kennebunk resident, was honored for his efforts through Healthy Maine Streets, an organization that promotes community wellness. 
(Courtesy photo) Want to comment on this story? Visit our website at www.post.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts. Ahmed Cianguilli accepted the Community Champions award at the Molina Medicaid Solutions ceremony in Augusta. Cianguilli, a stroke survivor and a Kennebunk resident, was honored for his efforts through Healthy Maine Streets, an organization that promotes community wellness. (Courtesy photo) Want to comment on this story? Visit our website at www.post.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts. KENNEBUNK — Determined to defy all odds after suffering a debilitating stroke, Ahmed Cianguilli fought to regain his motor skills and live as healthy as he could.

Nearly a decade later, Cianguilli has spread his wellness message to the community.

Earlier this month, Molina Medicaid Solutions recognized Cianguilli’s efforts by naming him an official honoree at its third annual Community Champions Award ceremony in Augusta.

The Community Champions program celebrates community members and partners “who work together to care for society’s most vulnerable individuals,” according to the award press release.

Each candidate across Maine is nominated by a community-based organization. Cianguilli was nominated by Kennebunk’s chapter of Healthy Maine Streets — a program launched by the Maine Downtown Center, a subset of the Maine Development Foundation.

The aim for Healthy Maine Streets is to facilitate healthy lifestyles at the workplace by connecting local businesses with creative opportunities to stay healthy. “Healthy people build downtown vitality, fuel economic growth and strengthen our quality of place for future generations,” according to the website.

Alongside Caroline Segalla, Cianguilli, a stroke survivor, helped to establish Healthy Maine Streets in Kennebunk.

He “knows firsthand the importance of being proactive about one’s health. He inspires and motivates local residents to make healthy life choices,” reads the honoree press release.

“From personal experience of being a stroke survivor, I know how vital it is to get moving as quick as possible,” Cianguilli said. “My stroke occurred on May 12, 2005 at 8:40 a.m. I was in a coma for 12 days and given less than a 10 percent chance to live, and the doctors thought I would never walk again.

“I spent one year in a wheelchair learning to walk again. My left leg is around 75-percent functional. I spent six months learning how to speak again with paralyzed vocal cords. My speaking is around 90 percent,” Cianguilli said. “My left hand is around 25 to 30 percent (functional). I am left-handed and it is extremely difficult at times. I refuse to give up. Through my therapists in New York, I was able to get up and moving again. They got me on my feet again.” Since his stroke, Cianguilli has used a pedometer and tracked nearly 2.5 million steps.

“Ahmed’s dedication and commitment have made Kennebunk a healthier place to live and for that we commend him,” said Peter Gray, executive account manager of Molina Medicaid Solutions in Maine.

Through the outlet of Healthy Maine Streets, in addition to visiting multiple downtown businesses to promote general lifestyle wellness (healthier food suggestions, tobacco-free lifestyle, etc.), Cianguilli has started an earlymorning walking group. He has also created a walking map for the downtown community, which helps residents gauge mileage. “Ciangiulli has changed the culture of health in downtown Kennebunk to one where health is kept at the forefront,” reads the release.

Cianguilli was also awarded $1,000 to give to a nonprofit of his choice, which was the Neuroscience Institute at Maine Medical Center.

For more information about Healthy Maine Street, visit the town’s website or email healthymainstreet@kennebunkmaine.us.

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