Ethan Zohn's Marathon Return

In today’s Healthy Hollywood feature: “Survivor” winner Ethan Zohn is a real hero to Healthy Hollywood.

Not only has the former pro soccer player dedicated his post-reality celebrity to raising money for his charity Grassroot Soccer, which uses soccer to help empower African youth, he’s also faced a life-altering battle with cancer, that’s he’s handled with grace and an upbeat attitude that many of us could learn from.

In fact, Ethan was celebrating his one-year anniversary of being released from the hospital for his stem cell transplant, when he ran last year’s Boston Marathon.

This was his first marathon after having undergone a transplant to battle his recurrence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and his first Boston Marathon. But, as we all unfortunately know, tragedy stuck last year’s marathon with the bombing that killed three and injured over 250 people.

“The marathon itself meant so many different things for me for so many different reasons, one of which I was born and raised in and around Boston. I was running with a team of runners for my charity, Grassroots Soccer. As well, as it exactly one year after I was released from the hospital where I had my second stem cell transplant. So, it was like so many things were happening at once for me on that day and you know it was a wonderful and horrible experience at the same time,” reveals Ethan to Healthy Hollywood.

Ethan was not near the site of the explosion. He tells me he was about 45 minutes away from it running-wise and had no idea when the bombs went off.

“I kept on running and it wasn’t until I actually got to the barricade at mile 25 that I saw it shut down and the cops said ‘Show’s over, this is what happened.’ So, during the whole time I didn’t understand but I saw people looking scared, people were running in the opposite direction, there were a lot of sirens and all this stuff but I just didn’t know what happened,” he recalled.

As soon as the Boston native realized the situation, he began to worry about others, especially his five running buddies.

“I was trying to find them and get in touch with them. You know the phones were locked – my mom was probably freaking out, you know my family was freaking out. Everything was shut down and we couldn’t get to the car or public transportation. It was just chaos,” explains Ethan.

Thankfully, all of his friends were OK. This year, Ethan is not able to run in the marathon, but he will have a big role with Universal Sports Network as the network’s social media reporter.

“It means a lot to be able to return and be able to share the stories of some of the people running and to be able to be a part of the anniversary of the bombing, even though I’m not running. It is a good way to be involved on a bigger level than just being a runner,” says Ethan.

Ethan expects the one year anniversary of the bombing at the Boston Marathon will be a day filled with tears and joy.

“I can only imagine it is going to be a day just completely overflowing with emotion. It was a moment in history that obviously we hope will never be repeated and people are going to be running in honor or those who have fallen and people running want to be involved in the marathon because of what happened and what it represents. I think it’s just going to be a giant group of people, obviously there will be competition, but the bottom line is this is something much bigger and much bigger than the marathon itself,” he concludes.

-- Terri MacLeod

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