First lady Jill Biden talks up Fred Hutch’s cancer research during Seattle visit
Sep 22, 2023, 12:41 PM | Updated: 7:26 pm
(Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)
According to a statement from her office, the visit was part of the Biden Administration’s Unity Agenda and Cancer Moonshot initiative. While in Seattle, she was expected to highlight “the importance of supporting cancer survivors through specialized care and research, including survivors of childhood cancers and breast cancer.”
“Of all the things that cancer steals from us time is the cruelest and we can’t afford to wait another minute for better solutions or better treatments, better cures,” Biden said during a prepared speech Friday.
That’s why President Joe Biden and the first lady restarted the Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative, Jill Biden noted. They intend “to build a world where cancer is not a death sentence, where we stop cancer before it starts, where we catch it early and help people live longer, healthier, happier lives, where we invest in innovative research and help patients and their families navigate this journey.” she said in her speech.
In her remarks, the first lady cited a statistic that there are 18 million cancer survivors across our country. “And thanks to the amazing work that’s being done right here … we are adding to that number each day,” she added.
In February 2022, President Joe Biden and the first lady, who has a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware, reignited the Cancer Moonshot initiative and, as her office noted previously, set a new national goal: “If we work together, we can cut the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.”
The first lady also said that for cancer survivors, their journey doesn’t end when they are declared cancer free.
“Side effects from treatment and the constant fear of that next doctor’s appointment linger through remission. We all know that we all know people who experienced that,” Jill Biden remarked.
She concluded her speech by saying the Cancer Moonshot initiative is “putting American innovation to work for patients. And together, we will help make it so that the word cancer loses its power. So fewer families know the pain of losing a loved one to this disease, as (President Biden) and I have.” The president’s son and first lady’s step son Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general and veteran, died in 2015 of brain cancer. He was 46.
“That’s the reason we’re all here. That’s why I’m asking you to lean in just a little bit more, to push your staffs just a little bit harder for all the families touched by cancer across the country that are in a race against time,” the first lady said. “That is the urgency of now. And for (President Biden) and for me, this is the mission of our lives. And we are ready and we are proud to work beside you.”
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While at Fred Hutch Friday afternoon, Jill Biden also completed a tour of a metastatic cancer laboratory and sit-down conversation with researchers, according to a pool report.
During the tour, the first lady spoke to Dr. Cyrus Ghajar, a Fred Hutch professor who specializes in cancer spread, about the problems his lab is trying to solve, innovative new therapies and ongoing clinical work. Jill Biden looked through a microscope to see bone marrow samples from breast cancer patients, and spoke with lab researchers about how they use various markers to profile patients’ cells, the pool report added.
The first lady was joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine, President and Director of Fred Hutch, Dr. Thomas Lynch, and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fred Hutch, Leigh Morgan.
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After her appearance in Seattle, her motorcade was set to head north to Shoreline for a fundraising event around 4 p.m.
From there, she was set to attend another fundraiser on Mercer Island around 6 p.m.
The first lady was expected to depart the area from Boeing field around 7:30 p.m., about 24 hours after she arrived in the Pacific Northwest.
KIRO Newsradio traffic reporter Nate Connors reported Friday those on the road should expect intermittent rolling slowdowns and closures while Jill Biden’s motorcade zig-zagged throughout the Puget Sound area.
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The first lady was expected to travel south Friday night and will deliver remarks at political events in Los Angeles and San Diego Saturday.