Kamala Harris choked up as she paid tribute to her late mother’s cancer battle as the White House relaunched the federal government’s “moonshot” initiative.
The vice-president became emotional as she honoured Gopalan Shyamala, who worked as a breast cancer researcher before dying of colon cancer in 2009.
“After a lifetime working to end cancer, cancer ended my mother’s life. I will never forget the day that she sat my sister and me down and told us she had been diagnosed with colon cancer,” said Ms Harris.
“It was one of the worst days of my life and an experience that sadly, millions and millions of people in our country have had.”
Ms Harris praised her mother’s work as a biomedical scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and her research that led to advancements in understanding of hormones and breast cancer.
“My mother’s discoveries helped save women’s lives,” added Ms Harris.
“And I am so proud that she brought our nation and our world closer to the goal of ending breast cancer as we know it.
“I watched her courageous fight. But after countless rounds of chemo, her body gave out. She was transferred from the hospital to hospice.
“And in fact one of the last questions she asked the hospice nurse was, are my daughters going to be okay. I miss my mother every day. And I carry her memory with me wherever I go.”
At the event on Wednesday, Mr Biden vowed to cut the death rate from cancer in half over the next 25-years.
“We can end cancer as we know it,” said Mr Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015 and first launched the initiative during his time as Barack Obama’s vice president.
“I committed to this fight when I was vice president,” added Mr Biden.
“It’s one of the reasons why quite frankly why I ran for president. Let there be no doubt, now that I am president, this is a presidential, White House priority. Period.”