Running to help the medical professionals who helped their father through a difficult diagnosis, a brother and sister will join the Massachusetts General Hospital Emergency Response Team for the 2016 Boston Marathon.
Michaela Colbert, 25, and Drew Colbert, 26, say they were inspired by the care and treatment their father, Edward Colbert, received after he entered the Mass General Emergency Department in July 2015. He subsequently was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a form of brain cancer.
The experience at Mass General has shown the Colbert family how important care and support are to families and patients undergoing emergency and cancer treatment.
“His doctors, surgeon, nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists, we’ve worked with everyone,” says Drew, who works in commercial real estate development and lives in Boston. “We find what they do so impactful. It’s made his life and his experience so much better.”
In addition to their father, the Colberts have two uncles who received lifesaving services in the hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
John Hancock Partnership
The runners on the Emergency Response Team are raising funds for the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine, an effort that the Colberts support as a way of giving back.
“It’s a powerful place,” Drew says. “The staff, its reputation, all the good that happens. It’s the world’s greatest. MGH—people call it ‘Man’s Greatest Hospital.’”
The Emergency Response Team is one of two marathon teams raising funds for MGH research and services. The other is the Pediatric Oncology Team which was founded in 1998. The bib numbers are provided by John Hancock, which worked with the Boston Athletic Association in 2014 to award the hospital an additional 40 bib numbers to create the Emergency Response Team, acknowledging the lifesaving response of hospital personnel following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
The MGH Emergency Response team supports the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine, which was created as part of a response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
In addition, 32 runners who obtained their own bib numbers for the Boston Marathon will run for the Miles for Mass General program, which raises funds for hospital programs that are close to their hearts – including cystic fibrosis, pediatric palliative care, Caring for a Cure, the Mass General Cancer Center, the Lurie Center for Autism and Huntington’s disease research at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.
Michaela says she is grateful for Mass General’s ER Team, which worked tirelessly to save the lives of marathon victims after the bombings, “a devastating event that shook the city and has since become a key story of Boston resilience and camaraderie,” she says.
Ready for Any Emergency
David Brown, MD, chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine, points out that the MGH Emergency Response marathon team supports the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine, which was “created as part of a response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings to ensure that MGH is always ready to serve and support our patients and our communities during times of crisis.”
Dr. Brown, who is the team captain, says people are running for a variety of reasons. “Some are MGH employees, many from MGH Emergency Medicine,” he says. “Some are supporters of MGH who were touched by the marathon bombings or have been touched in some other way by their experiences with MGH.”
Both Drew and Michaela say their father is their chief motivation. He has responded well to treatment and has been able to enjoy his favorite activities such as swimming, biking and cooking in their outdoor, homemade brick oven. He and other family members and friends will be along the marathon route on April 18, 2016 to cheer the runners on.
“He is one of my biggest mentors, role models and best friends,” says Michaela, a life sciences venture debt analyst, who lives in Boston.
Training Together for Boston Marathon
The brother and sister are happy to be running together in their first Boston Marathon. They plan to run side by side to enjoy the experience as a team, even though, as Drew acknowledges, Michaela is much faster. Both have completed marathons separately: Drew, the San Francisco Marathon in 2012, and Michaela, the New York Marathon in 2015 and the Newport Marathon in 2014.
They are raising funds independently. Michaela has set a goal of $6,000. Drew hopes to raise $8,000.
“It has been great having Drew by my side for both training runs, motivational conversations and fundraising,” she says.
They are hosting a fundraising event Friday, March 25, 2016 at Aeronaut Brewing Co in Somerville, Mass., and have invited the public to join them for food, music, craft beer and a raffle to support Mass General and their marathon team.
Says Drew: “We applied to run for MGH because it’s the best. We want to do anything we can do to give back.”
For more information or to support the Emergency Response Team, please contact us.