14 March, 2017
Speaking at the South by Southwest interactive conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Biden shared what he learned about cancer research over the past year in leading the "cancer moonshot", an initiative to accomplish a decade of progress in cancer research within five years, and called for Democrats, Republicans, and all conference attendants, to work together to help eradicate cancer.
"Your government - that many of you don't like - is the vehicle for how this gets funded by and large", he said. "We need you. You're the future", said Biden, drawing cheers and a standing ovation.
Biden's effort to fight cancer has previously taken him to Texas.
Biden said the innovators at SXSW were the flawless people for the task, and that the tech industry could be instrumental in helping with cancer research. He also said he hoped the new administration would be able to "focus on being as committed and enthusiastic as we were to the goal".
Biden focused mostly on the initiative during his SXSW speech without getting into politics. In an impassioned address stressing hope and collaboration, he said the festival convenes "some of the most creative minds in the world" in a synergy vital to dealing with cancer treatment and prevention.More news: EU leaders reappoint Donald Tusk as European Council president
As an example, Biden cited a case in which under the administration of former President Barack Obama, $30 million was awarded to improve electronic recordkeeping.
At times verging on tears, with his voice growing soft, Biden spoke tenderly about his older son Beau who died at 46 in 2015, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. "We lost our son on Memorial Day and I had been putting off the decision to seek the Democratic nomination for President", said Biden, who later fought back tears as he recalled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's motion to rename the cancer initiative after Beau late previous year.
"This Cancer Moonshot, when it was born, we chose to take a new approach to conquering cancer", Biden said. "I am optimistic about the American people. So, definitely, it should be something that anyone, from whatever background they're in, should support", said Samantha Simunyu who was also at Biden's event. Even those who work in technology as entertainment can innovate in ways to fight cancer in unexpected ways, he said. Addressing an audience that included techies and innovators, he pointed out how easily websites and apps had made it to buy movie tickets or cash checks at the swipe of a finger on a smartphone, then wondered why cancer patients like his son couldn't just as easily send test results from one hospital to another.
"Your generation can be the first generation on earth that goes through life with a completely different understanding of cancer as preventable - a controllable disease, rather than a death sentence", he said.
"I'm unwilling to postpone for one day longer the things we can do now to extend people's lives and so should you be". "We can make an enormous, enormous, enormous progress".