SXSW: Former Vice President Biden pleads with entrepreneurs to support cancer research


Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, former Second Lady Jill Biden, spoke to a packed auditorium of people today about the Biden Foundation and their personal brush with cancer.

“All of us have had a touch with cancer. For us, it was the death of our beloved son, Beau,” Jill Biden said. “All of us have something to contribute. You don’t have to be a doctor, nurse or a researcher to feel that you can make a difference. We’re not going to beat cancer unless we all do our part.”

Beau Biden passed away in 2015 due to brain cancer. Devastated by his son’s death, Biden said he decided to forgo campaigning for the presidency.

“No should ever run for president of the United States unless they are ready to give every ounce of their energy to that undertaking,” Joe Biden said.

Instead, Biden decided to pursue advocating for increased funding for cancer research.

“When you have someone you love get diagnosed with this particular cancer, you try to do everything you possibly can about it,” Joe Biden said.

After gaining more experience with cancer research, he said realized that despite the vast leaps in technology cancer research had made, there needed to be more clear communication between different disciplines. Biden helped found the Genomic Data Commons, a database that houses statistics about the disease and information about patients that doctors can access across the nation.

“Hopefully we can unlock some more of the secrets this dreaded disease hides,” Joe Biden said.

He teared up several times throughout his speech as he recalled his son’s last days in the hospital. The former vice president called upon the private sector to take up arms against cancer.

“We can make progress, but we need your help,” Joe Biden said. “You are the future. We need your ingenuity. We need you.”