First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Visiting Tampa As Part Of ‘Cancer Moonshot’ Initiative

by: Justin Schecker

Posted: / Updated:

TAMPA (WFLA) – First lady Dr. Jill Biden touched down Thursday afternoon ahead of her visit to the Moffitt Cancer Center as part of the Biden-Harris Administration reigniting the ‘Cancer Moonshot‘ initiative 

President Barack Obama announced the cancer “moonshot” program during his final full year in office and secured $1.8 billion over seven years to fund research. Obama designated Biden, then his vice president, to run “mission control,” a recognition of Biden’s grief as a parent and desire to do something about it.

Biden wrote in his memoir “Promise Me, Dad” that he chose not to run for president in 2016 primarily because the disease killed his eldest son Beau.

The White House has set the goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.

“Her visit is really inspirational,” said Dr. John Cleveland, an executive vice president at Moffitt. “It is a terrific honor and privilege to have the First Lady come to visit and it highlights the importance of the work we are doing at Moffitt.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor was on the tarmac to greet the First Lady. She presented her with a gift basket from Visit Tampa Bay.

“This I believe is a noble endeavor,” Mayor Castor said of the Cancer Moonshot. “And as Americans when we put our minds to something, we’re gonna find the cure.”

According to the White House, more people are surviving and living longer after a cancer diagnosis thanks to scientific advancements and innovative treatments.

“We have done really really good in terms of coming up with new personalized medicines, and targeted therapies and now most recently immunotherapies to treat cancer,” Dr. Cleveland said. “But what have we really done to prevent it.”

The President and first lady are calling on more Americans to get cancer screenings that were missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to get out there and do screenings,” Dr. Cleveland said. “For Melanoma, everyone should get a skin check every year in this state almost regardless of your age. Breast cancer screenings, when you’re a woman when you hit 45 you need to get out there and get a breast cancer screening. If it’s in your family you need to get out there earlier.”

News Channel 8 will have a crew at Moffitt Friday afternoon when Dr. Biden meets with doctors and researchers. She will be joined by National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Ned Sharpless.

Later in the day, the first lady and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security John K. Tien will meet with military families at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa-locka.  

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