Remarks of Dr. Jill Biden at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center’s 2016 One Hundred Gala as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Jack, for welcoming all of us here this evening. You’ve been a good friend to the people of this city for so many years. Your compassion and your continued actions have made all the difference in the world to so many in Boston and all across our country. Truly, thank you.
I’d also like to thank my dear friend, Tim Quinn. Tim, a cancer survivor himself, has been involved with the one hundred as a committee member for many years. Tim has told me countless times that his work with Mass General is so important to him. And, Tim’s partner Isaac is with us tonight as well. Honestly, you can’t find two people that are more fun to spend time with than Tim and Isaac. Thank you, Tim, for thinking of me and for always being there for me — it’s truly an honor to be here with you this evening.
Finally, I’d like to recognize all the fighters and survivors of cancer who are here today. I am so humbled to be with all of you. I am inspired by your bravery. Each of you has a powerful story to tell about your own personal battle — one that will raise awareness and help educate so many others. Thank you.
In October, when Joe announced that he would not seek the nomination for the Presidency, we had already decided to focus on another campaign. This campaign. This fight against this disease. Joe called it our moonshot. He knew it would take all of us — a nation-wide commitment bringing together our best and brightest — to make our dream of ending cancer as we know it, a reality. Joe never picks the easy jobs.
As announced just a few hours ago, on Wednesday, June 29th we’re hosting a Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, DC. The Summit will bring together leaders like you — doctors, researchers, advocates, patients and survivors — men and women from every sector who have a role to play in making progress on the Cancer Moonshot goal, which is to double the rate of progress toward a cure.
We can do this by accelerating investment in some of the most promising and cutting-edge technologies and cancer treatments. By increasing engagement in prevention efforts and working to expand access to care. By improving the way data is shared across the board. And Boston is leading the way. Earlier today, I had the opportunity to visit PatientsLikeMe, an online network which is empowering patients, improving their outcomes, and contributing data for research.
For Joe and me, this fight is personal. My sister recently had a stem cell transplant. Our son Beau. My mother. My father. So, we know how important this fight is. But we also know it’s bigger than us. It affects millions of people around the world every day.
Since President Obama announced Joe would be at the helm of mission control of the Cancer Moonshot initiative, we’ve been traveling across the country and around the world — hearing directly from top researchers, doctors, patient advocates and cancer fighters and survivors.
That brings me to one of tonight’s honorees: Terri Fuller. Terri was the 10th woman on her mother’s side to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Her own mother died of breast cancer at the age of 31 — the exact same age Terri received her diagnosis.
Like all of tonight’s honorees: Terri is a fighter. She’s a survivor. And a tireless advocate. Terri dedicates her time to educating and uplifting young women with breast cancer, and provides one-on-one support for breast cancer patients. She also happens to be an English professor at a community college in Illinois. You’re a woman after my own heart! Your dedication is both courageous and inspiring.
All of you here tonight know this fight isn’t easy. You know the importance of the caregivers who walk alongside their patients. Their support is so critical.
So, thank you to Mass General, especially Dr. Daniel Haber, the director of the Mass General Cancer Center for your tremendous work and commitment. Mass General’s customized, innovative treatments and compassionate, patient-centered care are fundamentally saving the lives of so many people — adults and children — battling this disease.
Closing the gap between scientific discovery and clinical medicine is critical to our Moonshot mission of accelerating cancer treatment toward a cure. And, as you all know, Mass General really is the gold standard in promoting patients’ quality of life through an array of patient and caregiver support and educational programs.
That’s what tonight is all about — it’s about all of you — it’s about the everyday amazing hero — who knows we all have a role to play and we can all make a difference. Because only together can we seize this moment to truly change the face of cancer as we know it.
So to all of you — the scientists in the labs making discoveries that will lead us to better outcomes; the caregivers along the way who make the day-to-day battle with cancer even a little easier; and the survivors who are on the front lines who have dedicated your time, your heart, yourselves to this cause, thank you.
Keep going, and God bless.