Readers Say

Richard Rivera is running Boston to support early cancer detection

"Being proactive about your health leads to more time making memories with family and friends."

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston. If you’re running the marathon, you can share your story here.

Name: Richard Rivera
Age: 44
From: Salem

I am honored, once again, to be running the Boston Marathon for DetecTogether. I ran on Team DetecTogether in 2020, and their message struck a chord.

I am BRCA2 positive. It’s a gene mutation that places me at an increased risk of prostate, pancreatic, and breast cancers. After my uncle was diagnosed with breast cancer, I shared my family medical history with my doctor and was tested for the mutation. Knowing that I am positive, I have yearly prostate exams, mammograms, and blood tests to measure my baselines. Thankfully, I’ve been healthy and able to live my life to its fullest.


However, initially hearing my results was scary, and I had so many questions. What if cancer struck between doctor appointments? How would I know? Would it clearly present itself? DetecTogether recognized that no one was teaching people how to detect cancer early when it’s most treatable and survivable. I certainly didn’t know before 2020! I learned “the most common cancer symptom is a subtle and persistent health change that lasts for 2 weeks or more.”

Researching further, I discovered DetecTogether developed and teaches 3 Steps Detect, an easy plan to identify early warning signs (understanding your body’s normal), know when to take action (2 weeks), and how to have the right conversation with your doctor. Being proactive about your health leads to more time making memories with family and friends.

I am proud to share in the work and efforts of DetecTogether.

Editor’s note: This entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.