Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by First Lady Jill Biden at the Louisiana Cancer Research Center
New Orleans, LA
Thank you, Senator Cassidy.
It’s so nice to be back in New Orleans!
Dr. Ramos, I’m grateful for this opportunity to see the exciting work you’re doing and the progress being made. And Mayor Cantrell, Representative Boyd, Congressman Carter, thank you for the warm welcome back to this city.
Years ago, my sister Jan was diagnosed with lymphoma. Like every family that faces cancer, my sisters and I were stunned when we heard her diagnosis, terrified of losing her. But even as I held her hand, and my breath, through doctor visit after doctor visit, one thing gave me hope: that researchers like you were working tirelessly to find the best, most effective treatments for people like my sister.
For six weeks, Jan underwent stem cell transplant therapy. I visited her whenever I could. It was painful at times. But it worked. Today, thanks to her treatment and the strength she found to fight, she is a survivor.
Cancer changes everyone it touches. And in some ways, it touches us all.
This community knows that more than most. So many families here in Louisiana have lost loved ones to this disease. I know that’s probably why many of you are here, why you do this work. Because you know that the breakthroughs and discoveries that you make here, every cancer-causing virus we learn how to defeat, every clinical trial that ends in success, become the miracles that our families are praying for.
Your work changes lives. And it saves them.
That’s why the Louisiana Cancer Research Center was created: because your state legislature understood that the only way we can end the devastation of this disease is by bringing researchers, and doctors, and nurses, and patients together. We see the power of that collaboration here, where LSU, Tulane, Xavier University, and Ochsner are working together under one roof and in communities throughout the state.
Today, we met nurses who are part of an incredible pilot program funded by the National Cancer Institute, revolutionizing clinical trial enrollment in remote areas throughout the southern gulf. And we saw the lab where researchers are looking for ways to stop viruses from turning healthy cells into tumors.
This work is possible because the state of Louisiana has come together. Your congressional and state representatives from both sides of the aisle, the private sector, non-profits, and academia. And one of your strongest advocates has been Senator Cassidy.
Bill, you and Dr. Cassidy have fought for patients for so long. From opening a free clinic for those most in need, to treating the uninsured, to making breast cancer screenings more accessible in this community, you’ve served the people of this state as doctors, and now, as public servants dedicated to investing in research to end cancer.
You understand that cancer doesn’t care who someone votes for. It isn’t a red or a blue issue. It’s a human one. And it takes all of us, working together and sharing ideas, to stop it.
My husband, President Biden, knows that too. His Cancer Moonshot is bringing to the table the brightest minds and fiercest hearts to learn, and collaborate, and discover.
We’re investing in new ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer, and expanding access to routine screenings. That means right here, with millions of dollars from the federal government to support member institutions and scientists of the LCRC.
Today at the White House, we’re convening patients, survivors, companies, academic institutions, and health care providers to collaborate on efforts that will save lives from colorectal cancer.
And, in the 2024 budget that Joe released just yesterday, he is reducing the deficit and building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, as well as investing in cancer research and prevention.
Together, across party lines and state lines we’re building a world where cancer is not a death sentence, where treatments are less toxic and people live longer, healthier, happier lives. It’s ambitious. But it’s also within our reach.
For Joe and me, this is the mission of our lives. And we are ready and proud to work beside you.