DetecTogether Teaches Shrewsbury High School Students to Detect Cancer Early

DetecTogether brought its 3 Steps Detect education program to Shrewsbury High School on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. The entire student body took part in this life-saving training, supported in part by the Michael Bodge Tribute Fund.

Shrewsbury High School graduate, Michael Bodge, was 28 when he died of testicular cancer on April 27, 2019. Like many, Bodge did not know how to recognize cancer symptoms, and he was diagnosed too late. In his memory, Bodge’s family and friends established a fund to support early cancer detection education programs and to carry on his legacy of helping others. DetecTogether has educated 10,000 high school and college students since the fund’s inception in Spring 2019.

“Mike Bodge embodied kindness, selflessness, courage, and strength. We are grateful to be the beneficiaries of the efforts of his family and friends to bring this life-saving program to today’s students in his memory. Students learned independent living skills, self-advocacy, how to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals, and how to actively participate in their own healthcare. Mike’s legacy lives on and continues to do good for others,” said Jane O. Lizotte, EdD, Shrewsbury’s Assistant Superintendent for Community Partnerships and Well-Being.

The panel of three cancer survivors shared their stories as part of the presentation:

Asa Floyd believes that learning 3 Steps Detect at his high school saved his life. “I am glad I knew how to detect cancer early. When DetecTogether came to my school I learned how to notice health changes, keep track of them for two weeks, and talk to my doctor to figure out what was going on,” said Floyd, who is now cancer-free and a junior at UMass Amherst.

“Cancer is something I have always been very familiar with,” Bentley University senior Bryan Powers told the students. Bryan has an extensive family history of cancer, which includes himself and three family members — his father, mother, and brother. That history put him at risk for cancer. So when he noticed that his extreme fatigue and other symptoms didn’t go away after two weeks, he contacted his doctor, who diagnosed his cancer in its earliest stage. Today, Bryan is cancer free.

Heidi Richard, a teacher at Shrewsbury’s Beal Elementary School, who was featured in People Magazine when she ran the Boston Marathon for DetecTogether, also told her cancer story as part of the panel. “I think deep down I always knew something really wasn’t right, but I didn’t listen to my body,” shared Richard. “When something is off with your body, do something about it. Don’t wait. If something is continuing and it’s outside of your normal, don’t be afraid to speak up.”