Exeter grad running the Boston Marathon in memory of her brother

Submitted photo Michael and Sarah at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2009, cheering on Penn State, before Michael was diagnosed.
Submitted photo Michael and Sarah in the hospital during the winter of 2013, after his first relapse. Michael was in the hospital for almost eight weeks getting chemotherapy and then recovering from chemotherapy.

Exeter graduate Sarah Chobot is taking to running the streets of Boston in honor of her late brother, Michael.

As a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, Sarah, along with around 700 of her colleagues, will run the Boston Marathon April 21 to raise money and awareness for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.

In the fall of 2011, Michael Chobot was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and battled the disease for two years before passing away in August 2012.

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Michael was a 2005 graduate of Exeter Township High School, and went on to study Video and Film at Penn State. When he was diagnosed with leukemia, he was working in New York City at DuArt Production working sound production on Pokémon cartoons.

“He loved it,” Sarah said about Michael’s job.

After her brother was diagnosed, she and her husband, Phil (who is in remission himself), invited Michael to live with them at their home in Boston while he underwent treatments.

Sarah, a 2007 graduate of Penn State, moved to Boston for her first full-time position at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where her brother received medical care. In Michael’s case, it took longer to diagnose his disease because it presently differently. “He needed to be admitted to the hospital within 24 hours of his original diagnosis,” Sarah shared.

During his time in the hospital, Michael was eager to offer his test results for research to help others who are battling the same type of cancer. During his time at Dana-Farber, Michael underwent “two very difficult stem cell transplants.”

He was open to telling the doctors to use his case as research. “Make this count” was his attitude to encourage researchers to work to come up with treatments.

Sarah believes her bother “would be at peace [that his] wishes are being fulfilled.”

Michael was happy to help people and wanted to be proactive about finding a cure. “Michael was outspoken about it,” Sarah said. “He wanted his blood, and bone marrow to donated for studies. He would always tell the nurses that he would volunteer [for studies].”

As a way to honor her brother and fund more research, Sarah is leading the first DFMC team to run in the Boston Marathon.

Coming from a family of runners, both Sarah and Michael ran cross-country for Exeter High School; their father Tom Chobot currently coaches cross-country at Exeter.

Michael ran two ultra-marathons (any marathon over 26.2 miles) before getting sick.

Sarah has ran eight marathons previously; this April will be her first time running the Boston Marathon. Their older brother, Joe, is also a cross-country runner, and has ran one marathon.

DFMC will direct every cent of the proceeds they raise to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber. The program “fosters scientific breakthroughs by advancing the work of gifted researchers in a variety of basic research disciplines. These funds enable scientists at the leading edge of discovery to achieve better cure rates and to enhance patients’ quality of life.”

Michael was nominated as sound designer for a News and Documentary Emmy for the PBS production “An Original DUCKumentary.”

“Our whole family got to go,” Sarah said, which included herself and her husband, Phil, parents Tom and Gwyn, and brother Joe, and his wife, Megan.

While he was not the recipient of the award, the piece did win for Outstanding Nature Programming.

The award was dedicated to Michael and his whole family was present at the award ceremony in October 2012 in New York City.

His family is proud to continue to raise awareness through Michael’s life experience.

As of the last week of December, the DFMC team was accepted as participants of the Boston Marathon. So far, the team has raised $2,700, with an end goal of raising $10,000 to donate for research. “Michael made an impact on the world with the work that he’s done and the lives of the people he has touched,” Sarah said.

To donate in support of Michael, visit http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/sarahc

About the Author

Emily Thiel

Emily Thiel is the editor of The Southern Berks News and is the Community Engagement Editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Emily joined Berks-Mont in March 2013. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2011 with a degree in English with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies. Emily is a native of Allentown, Pa. Reach the author at ethiel@berksmontnews.com or follow Emily on Twitter: @sthrnberksnews.