“Let’s Land the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ Successfully, Joe!”
Here’s a letter I wrote to the Vice-President just before the 2016 Presidential election, in a desperate attempt to help save a dear friend who was dying from cancer:
Monday, October 31, 2016
Honorable Vice President Joseph Biden, Jr.
The White House — 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Vice President,
Being in charge of the “Cancer Moonshot” have you learned yet when the countdown begins and how long is the flight? You see, sir, every second the clock ticks I get more worried that your noble mission may not land in time to save my very dear friend & colleague, Jerry.
An award-winning journalist before taking up law three decades, Jerry has been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. Like many cancers that have few immediate symptoms, his was discovered “too late” and now they say he has six months to a year to live.
The great newswoman Gwen Ifill recently lost her battle with the same cancer as Jerry’s: adenocarcinoma.
This morning, Halloween Day 2016, doctors at a renown medical center in New Orleans are sending a “moon-rover” down Jerry’s throat, to explore the far reaches of his abdomen, in search of the tumor(s).
His large, loving family and circle of friends are intensely worried because all the symptoms and scans so far indicate Jerry is among the many pancreatic cancer patients who even today, statistically, have less than a year to live and at best, five.
Jerry tells me the “moon-rover” (as he calls it) camera is relatively new, is not very intrusive, uses local anesthesia; and is even designed to make some repairs in a very limited number of cases. Hope springs eternal and we need more innovations like this to keep hope alive, don’t you agree?
Unfortunately, as you’ve probably learned, even modern medicine hasn’t yet been able to decrease significantly the alarming number of deaths annually from pancreatic cancer. It should have been alarming a hundred years ago –especially since this form of cancer was first discovered almost 200 years ago!
Mr. Vice President, people urgently need that “moonshot” to happen today, now, more than ever, especially in America. Don’t we have the most cancer patients in the world?
If there has been any progress made yet toward conquering cancer, please let us know immediately, lives depend on it. People we all know, all around us, succumb to this great evil, cancer. Only days after I began this open letter, one of America’s preeminent journalists, Gwen Ifill lost a hard-fought battle with the same “type” carcinogen as my dear friend, Jerry.
You were appointed to head mission control of the cancer moonshot because everyone, everyone, knows you can handle the hard work urgently needed to save the life of Jerry and 600,000 other American cancer victims, citizens, annually. Please get this mission off the ground, Mr. Biden — let’s land Jerry safely, Joe!
The Vieux Carré Times
New Orleans, Louisiana
PS: As we approach the Summer of 2017, my friend Jerry is still fighting the never-ending battle to conquer his cancer; but, on a lighter note, here’s a funny “lawyer song” he wrote & sings with his band, “Jerry & The BarBards”
Note to all: for more on America’s “Cancer Moonshot” mission here’s two good links: https://medium.com/cancer-moonshot/report-of-the-cancer-moonshot-task-force-executive-summary-e711f1845ec#.sz0wj883n
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PPS — Alas, my dear friend Jerry has, as we say in New Orleans, “crossed over to the other side.” I’ll be writing a follow-up letter, Mr. Biden, Mr. Former Vice-President. But, (as I had asked you in October 2016) “if & when you become ‘Mr. President’ you, hopefully, will use the knowledge gained from the task force to — finally — land that moonshot and see to it that all deadly cancers are eradicated from Mother Earth….”