Jill Biden Shares Her Story During Speech Honoring MPN Patient Advocates

Katie Kosko

FORMER SECOND LADY OF the United States Jill Biden, Ed.D., joined CURE® in November 2017 at its fifth annual MPN Heroes™ gala, which honored those who have made extraordinary efforts to support people affected by rare blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Sidelined due to snow, Biden broadcast out of CURE’s New Jersey TV studio to reach the crowd of 150 gathered at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

She spoke of the power of one person and the difference it can make to a community, citing “our capacity to do what we can with what we’ve got; to become the leaders that we want to follow; to find the courage together to reach for what seems impossible, no matter who we are.”

Biden lost Beau, her son through her marriage to former Vice President Joe Biden, to brain cancer in 2015, as well as both of her parents to forms of the disease. In 1993, she started the Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware, which helps educate high school girls about early detection of breast cancer.

She and her husband now run the Biden Cancer Initiative, which aims to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care, as well as to reduce disparities in health outcomes.

In her most vulnerable moment, Biden spoke about what the public didn’t see as she and her husband were serving the country. “For over a year, I watched my brave, strong, funny, bright, young son fight brain cancer: chemotherapy, operation after operation, weight loss,” she said. “But I never gave up hope. As a mother, you can’t. I had to be strong for my children and my husband, but most of all for my son Beau, because in the middle of it all, he was being strong for all of us. So, I kept going.”
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