WHYY hosts Biden Cancer Initiative session with Jill Biden

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Dr. Jill Biden speaks about Cancer Moonshot, an initiative to advance scientific research for cancer, at The Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for UN Foundation)

Dr. Jill Biden speaks about Cancer Moonshot, an initiative to advance scientific research for cancer, at The Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for UN Foundation)

Philadelphia will be one of more than 400 cities Friday hosting cancer patients, researchers, and activists as part of the Biden Cancer Initiative. These summits, started in 2017 by former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are a space for all those affected by cancer to discuss treatments and share stories of hope.

WHYY is hosting one of the summits in partnership with the American Association for Cancer Research and WHYY’s The Pulse. Jill Biden, a guest at the forum, talked to Pulse host Maiken Scott about the event.

Interview highlights

On her aspirations for the summits:

The whole theme of our conference is the urgency of now. I’m sure everybody listening knows someone who has had cancer. And so we have to move forward to really find cures and answers and solutions — and not only do the research but help the families and, really, the patients. And that’s our whole goal.

On her motivation and her own family’s experience with cancer:

My mother died of cancer, my father died of cancer, and, of course, our son [Beau] died of brain cancer. And so I think cancer touches everyone, and I think people are desperate for answers for help. You know they get a cancer diagnosis and they think, ‘OK now what? Where do I go? What do I do? Who do I turn to?’ One of the things we’re hoping to do is come up with a roadmap to help people handle, to manage, their care. And it’s scary, and it’s frightening. The Bidens realize that because we’ve had to deal with so much cancer within our own family.

On her hope for the future of cancer research:

Look at the immunotherapy. I mean, a couple of years ago, nobody was doing that. And now, that’s new and everybody is doing it. So that gives us hope. I mean there’s so many new things coming up. I’m sure you’ll hear more about this on Friday, and I hope it’s exciting for the people who listen in on the summits. People are so hungry for information, and I think it’s a start.

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