When Joe Biden Surprised Cancer Survivors, They Thanked Him For His Dedication To Eradicating The Disease

The impromptu visit ended with a sweet sing-a-long.

Less than a week after receiving a powerful letter of thanks from a cancer survivor named Craig Stephenson, former vice president Joe Biden surprised Stephenson, and two others who had written him because they have also been impacted by cancer, with an impromptu visit.

The meeting was arranged by The Today Show, and as soon as Biden rounded the corner and made himself visible to Stephenson, breast cancer survivor Julie Fiol, and Yeronely Parra, whose young son, Brendon, is battling a rare form of cancer, the trio couldn't contain their emotions.

After hugging each person, Biden  told them, "You said I don't know you, but I know you. You're like so many people I've met, going through the hell you had to go through, and you had the courage, and the determination, and hope."

In each of their letters, Stephenson, Fiol, and Parra separately thanked Biden for all that he's done to eradicate cancer and promote necessary research via the Biden Cancer Initiative. "As a parent of a child with pediatric cancer I am grateful to you," Parra wrote. "I know you are a parent who experienced an incredible loss when your son, Beau, lost his battle with cancer."

As Parra mentioned, Biden's eldest son passed away in 2015 after battling brain cancer. Beau's death is part of what drove Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, to establish the Biden Cancer Initiative earlier this year. The organization aims to develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research, and care, and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes.

"Thank you for choosing to make cancer your mission," Parra added. "You are truly helping families like mine."

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2016, and 595,690 people died from the disease. Similarly, the American Childhood Cancer Organization reports there are an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer each year. The organization also notes approximately one in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.

After Biden finished speaking with Stephenson, Fiol, and Parra, Brendon came in and the entire group sang him his favorite song. It put a smile on the 2-year-old's face, and it was clear Biden was happy to do anything he could to make the toddler's day a bit brighter.

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