Washington Football Team's head coach Ron Rivera is standing by his team amid his ongoing cancer battle.
During an appearance on Good Morning America on Monday, the 58-year-old NFL coach told host Robin Roberts that he will continue to coach his team even after he was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) in the offseason.
"First of all, it's who I am. Listening to the doctors talking about how important it is to try and do as much of your routine as possible, but they also tell you to be careful, listen to your body," he told Roberts, 59, about his decision to continue coaching the current football season. "There's also people watching me so I'm trying to set the example."
Then, comparing himself to the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg — who died last month at 87 after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer — Rivera added, "Hey, RBG she went through it, so I figure I can too."
During his chat with GMA, Rivera also touched upon how the support of the fans, as well as his friends and family, has meant so much to him as he continues with treatment.
On Sunday, the first-year head coach saw a huge show of support with a Coach's Corner at FedEx Field, where dozens of cardboard cutouts of his friends and family members sat in the stands. "It means a lot," he said.
"When I first was diagnosed, I was angry," Rivera said. "People have reached out and talked to me and have given me their examples or just sent their well-wishes. It helps push me forward and I think that's so important."
He continued in the GMA interview: "When you go through something like this, you need a support system. When you have the right type of people pushing you, man, I tell you what it really helps. It gets your momentum going forward."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories
One of the cutouts in his support section was extra special for Rivera, he says, as it featured his late brother Mickey, who the outlet reported died of pancreatic cancer in 2015.
"That really hit me … cause Mickey was such a fighter," he said. "Just to see him again … that hit home."
There was also an additional cardboard placement of his mom, which Rivera said was technically her "first time" at an NFL game since he has been a head coach.
"She refuses to go because she doesn't like people yelling at her son?" Roberts asked Rivera, before he confirmed, "That's true … She doesn't appreciate all the bad words."
The former NFL player also talked about the importance of healthcare for individuals who are facing a diagnosis like his, and made a plea for Americans to vote in the upcoming 2020 election.
"There's so much that goes into this and it's so expensive," he said. "If we don't have quality healthcare in our country, I mean, we're the richest country in the world. We should."
"Everybody deserves the opportunity to fight and fight with everything that they're given," Rivera added. "And this is the opportunity now. So people got to go out and they gotta vote. They have to vote their conscience because it's important."
Earlier this year in August, the Washington Football Team announced in a statement that their coach was recently diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma located in a lymph node, which was detected through a "self-care check."
"The cancer is in an early stage, and is considered very treatable and curable, providing a good prognosis for Coach Rivera for a full recovery," the team said. "Coach Rivera has consulted with leading doctors and oncology specialists and is establishing his treatment plan in conjunction with the team's medical staff and his outside physicians."
"For now," the statement continued, "Coach has asked that the team keep things business as usual and remain focused, but a 'Plan B' is in place if it is determined that he should take some time off."
Source: Read Full Article