Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President at an Event to Reignite the Cancer Moonshot

February 02, 2022

Dr. Jill Biden. (Applause.)

Please have a seat. Please have a seat.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, President Joe Biden: Thank you both for your incredible and longstanding leadership on an issue of national importance, yes, and of personal significance to so many of us, including me.

So, as Dr. Biden said, you know, my whole life, I stood witness as my mother, a scientist, worked to end breast cancer.

So, my mother taught at public universities. She worked at a national laboratory. She published groundbreaking research. She was a peer reviewer at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, and collaborated with scientists around the world, including in France, Italy, and Canada.

My mother's discoveries helped save women's lives, and I am so proud that she brought our nation and our world closer to the goal of ending breast cancer as we know it.

And today, we are closer than we have ever been.

Since the turn of the century, we have made significant breakthroughs. We have learned so much about therapeutics and diagnostics, about public health and patient care.

More people are surviving cancer, more people are enduring cancer after being diagnosed than ever before, and the death rate for cancer has fallen by about 25 percent over the past 20 years.

In a moment, our President will lay out the new goals --ambitious goals, achievable goals -- for our nation to end cancer as we know it.

These goals are not abstract, and they will transform lives, they will improve lives, and they will save lives.

So, I said at the outset that this is an issue of personal significance to so many and for me. You see, after a lifetime working to end cancer, cancer ended my mother's life.

I will never forget the day that she sat my sister and me down and told us she had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

It was one of the worst days of my life and an experience that, sadly, millions and millions of people in our country have had.

My mother was a fighter, all five feet of her. (Laughter.) You would have thought she was seven feet, but she was only five.

And as I cared for her during those many months, I watched her courageous fight. But after countless rounds of chemo, her body gave out. She was transferred from the hospital to hospice. And, in fact, one of the last questions she asked the hospice nurse was, "Are my daughters going to be okay?"

I miss my mother every day, and I carry her memory with me wherever I go.

When President Biden launched his Cancer Moonshot

five years ago, I, of course, thought of my mother. We may not have ended cancer as we know it -- not then, but there is still so much work to do and we are so much closer.

The President's Cancer Moonshot demonstrates who he, our President, is. Because as you all know, out of his personal pain, he launched an initiative -- this initiative that will help countless lives, the lives of people he may never meet.

This initiative also demonstrates who we are as a nation.

In America, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what can be, we see where we can go in a way that when we reach for the moon, we plant our flag on it.

So, it is now my honor to introduce another leader who, for many years, has worked tirelessly in the lab and the clinic in that spirit: from Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Edjah Nduom.

Thank you. (Applause.)

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at an Event to Reignite the Cancer Moonshot Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354372

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