Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, came to San Antonio Wednesday to visit UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center and a childcare facility at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland.
Several San Antonio cancer survivors and their doctors talked with Biden as she toured the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. Biden stressed that she approaches this topic not just as a first lady, but as a mother. Biden’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2013.
“I mean, we were fortunate that when our son got cancer we had access to the best health care in the world. We had access to trials. We had access to different kinds of therapies. I mean we tried everything,” Biden said.
Biden says it’s important that all families have access to that kind of care. She heard from several local experts in cancer diagnosis and treatment, with a focus on addressing health disparities experienced by Latino-Americans.
President Joe Biden relaunched his Cancer Moonshot initiative earlier this month. Among the program’s goals are to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years.
Biden, who has a doctorate in education, also toured the Gateway Child Development Center at JBSA – Lackland to learn about programs that serve military children with disabilities — with special attention paid to how military moves can impact their quality of life.
Dr. Biden listened as parents, educators, and advocates gave feedback on the military-wide Exceptional Family Member Program, which helps troops manage care and services for family members with special needs.
Joint Base San Antonio has developed a network of community partnerships that help it support special needs families. So far, the base has over 5,000 EFMP sponsors, making it one of just a handful of U.S. military bases with the resources to attend to families with intensive needs.