A Father's Promise: The Biden Cancer Initiative

Kim Johnson

Last fall, Vice President Joe Biden embarked on a book tour, and I was lucky enough to speak with him during his stop in Denver. In doing so, it was abundantly clear that he has an undeniable passion for the work he is doing with the Biden Cancer Initiative. He is driven by his personal connection to cancer through the loss of his son, Beau to brain cancer in May of 2015.

In the months leading up to his son's passing, Beau promised his dad that no matter what, he would be OK. He asked that his dad promise the same to ensure that he wouldn't turn inwards, and despite how hard losing his son may be, Beau wanted to ensure that his father continued the work that he had always loved doing.

Similar to many of us working in the field of oncological medicine, Mr. Biden has a need for answers and a want to help find a cure so that nobody has to go through the same pain that he and his family has endured through losing Beau. Through his grief, he has found a new purpose that he otherwise may not have had.

He first began by helming the Cancer Moonshot Task Force when the Moonshot was enacted by then President Barack Obama. He took the platform of the vice presidency and turned that into what is now The Biden Cancer Initiative.

There, they are working with countless patient organizations, researchers, universities, treating clinics and both government and private agencies in an effort to seek and find the cure for cancer. As where many past and current efforts are focused on a singular distinct aspect of cancer, the Biden Initiative is not.

They are researching and relentlessly documenting everything about cancer. The approach that the Biden Initiative takes to finding a cure is that we cannot know what is and what is not important if we don’t have answers. So, every aspect from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, complications and remission are just as important as the next. While the means may be a bit unconventional, the hope for a cure remains the goal.

Of the many hallmark changes that have come from the aforementioned Cancer Moonshot Initiative, Vice President Biden sought multi-agency collaborations that had never been seen within the field of oncology before. Because those channels of communication are now open, many of the new advancements in multi-agent treatments have been able to push forward.

While only time will tell if the Cancer Moonshot will spearhead a decade of progress in five years, it is indisputable that Vice President Biden has brought the urgency to curing cancer back into focus. it is indisputable that Vice President Biden has brought the urgency to curing cancer back into focus. Things within the field of cancer change daily, and many clinical trails have been attributed to the joint collaborations between clinical facilitates that were personally spearheaded by Vice President Biden.

Through his original oversight of the Moonshot and now through his joint leaderships of the Biden Cancer Initiative, it is my personal opinion that Vice President Biden has more than kept the promise made to his son Beau.
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