Delmarva Survivors and Advocates Join Biden's "Moon Shot" Effort - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Survivors and Advocates Join Biden's "Moon Shot" Effort to End Cancer

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About 30 people attended the "Cancer Moon Shot Summit" in Rehoboth Beach. This was one of more than 100 events, held across the country (Source: Evan Koslof) About 30 people attended the "Cancer Moon Shot Summit" in Rehoboth Beach. This was one of more than 100 events, held across the country (Source: Evan Koslof)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Curing cancer in our lifetime is an ambitious goal, but one that some locals think may be possible if industry leaders and survivors can collaborate. This collaboration is the purpose for the first-ever "Cancer Moonshot Summit," hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. While Biden spoke at the summit in Washington, his speech was streamed at more than 100 events across the country, including multiple in Delaware. 

At Beebe Healthcare's Tunnel Cancer Center in Rehoboth Beach, approximately 30 people gathered to hear Biden's remarks, and to offer their own insight. Leaders of each individual summit have been tasked with taking notes, and submitting the comments to the White House. Sussex County Director for the Cancer Support Community Delaware, Jo Allegro-Smith, said there was a lot of excitement in the air. 

"To have this opportunity where an entire nation is coming together," she said, "And really mounting a strong effort around cancer, it's just a fantastic time in our lifetime." 

The "moonshot" goal was assigned to Biden by President Barack Obama, during this year's State of the Union address, making reference to John F. Kennedy's announcement that they would travel to the moon in 1961. The call to action was especially emotional for Biden since his son Beau Biden passed away from brain cancer in May of 2015. 

In his speech Wednesday, Biden said that one main focus should be on affordable medicine. 

"What is the possible justification," he said. "When a lifesaving drug is brought to market. At the time it's brought to market it costs $26,000 a year and 15 years later it costs $120,000. Tell me, tell me, tell me what is the justification for that."

Cancer patient Rachel Grier-Reynolds agreed with this sentiment, saying that her medicine is often too expensive. 

"My treatment is $17,000," she said. "For 30 pills. It's not going to be available for a lot of people." 

Meanwhile Dr. Andrejs Strauss said that solving the problem will inevitably come down to two things: Research and education about bad habits. 

"We have to concentrate on lifestyles," he said. "For example, approximately 50 percent of the cancers that we get -- starting from cancers of the mouth, the throat, to pancreas, bladder, to lung - they're all linked to tobacco."

The guests at each of the events were given a series of questions to try and better focus the national event. That included questions on what progress has been made, what new initiatives have been tested, and what barriers may be in the way. 

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