Readers Say

Heidi Richard is running Boston after a late cancer diagnosis

"I’m not going to be fast, but I’m going to find my joy out there on that course."

After getting a late cancer diagnosis, Heidi Richard is running Boston for DetecTogether so others won't go through the same thing.

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: Heidi Richard
Age: 47
From: Worcester

I was recently asked to run the 126th Boston Marathon for Team DetecTogether. DetecTogether works tirelessly to teach people how to detect cancer early in order to save lives. This spoke to my heart. I spent March 2019 until March 2020 running from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment. Something wasn’t right, I said. I know my body, I told them. But the replies came back with authority. You’re young. You must be anxious. You’re under stress. Maybe it’s mono. It could be acid reflux.


Finally, after a year, someone listened. It was none of those things. Yes, I was young in the cancer world. Yes, I had anxiety and stress, but it wasn’t mono or acid reflux. It was cancer. Diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, specifically. I had spent an entire year afraid to raise my voice to those whom I perceived to be more knowledgeable in this area when in reality I knew something was really wrong all along.

What followed was surgery, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and eventually a stem cell transplant in January of 2021. I am currently 8 months into a 24-month course of immunotherapy to prevent a recurrence. By running Boston for DetecTogether, maybe I can prevent someone else from getting a late diagnosis. If I can raise money for DetecTogether by running the Boston Marathon, they can get this message out to even more people and lives will change. So here I am. Preparing to run the 126th Boston Marathon this coming April.

I’m not going to be fast, but I’m going to find my joy out there on that course. I will share my story proudly and I will use this platform to help others. If you are able to give a donation, you can visit my fundraising page or you can write a check made out to DetecTogether.


If you would like to learn more about the mission of DetecTogether, you can visit their website. If you want to help spread the word about early detection, you could share both of these resources. The more people we can reach, the more people we can help.

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