At a northern Virginia hospital Monday, Rivera received his last round of chemotherapy and proton therapy, marking the end of his seven weeks of treatments. He still has several more weeks of follow-up appointments and scans, but Monday marked a milestone for Rivera.
As he left the hospital, he walked through a line of cheering staffers who waved pom-poms, tossed confetti and made noise with rattlers. They all wore black Rivera Strong T-shirts. He then rang the bell, raising his left fist, signaling the end of his treatments.
Rivera announced in August that he had squamous cell cancer but that doctors had caught it in time and were optimistic about his prognosis. On Friday, Rivera said he was told that the cancer was ‘headed in the right direction’ and that doctors remain upbeat.
Because of his treatments, Rivera was unavailable to speak to the media, but his coordinators were thrilled with his latest development. Washington has a bye this week, allowing Rivera to get more rest after the chemotherapy.
He did not miss a game while being treated.
‘I talked to Coach on the phone for a while last night,’ offensive coordinator Scott Turner said. ‘I told him I was praying for him going into this last treatment. Obviously, we’re all very concerned and thinking about him as he goes through this stuff. His strength is unmatched. I’m happy for him that that stuff is over. I know these next couple days are going to be tough, just recovering from that. We’re here for him and really happy for him that he’s pushed through that.’
Rivera missed two practices and had to leave early during a third while undergoing treatments. It was especially tough during the previous two times when he needed chemotherapy. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio filled in for Rivera during those practices.”