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Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian cancer patients now being treated in the United States


By Kate Bennett, CNN

First lady Jill Biden on Friday visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, to meet with four families who had traveled from war-torn Ukraine to Poland, and then on to the pediatric cancer center for treatment.

The United States State Department helped to facilitate evacuation and transportation for the Ukrainians to St. Jude.

“It was amazing to see how desperate these families were to get care,” said Biden later Friday evening at a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Denver, Colorado, according to a pool report.

Biden described the families as “exhausted, grateful and hopeful,” according to her press secretary Michael LaRosa.

The first lady has a personal connection to cancer, having lost Beau Biden, the eldest of the three Biden children, to the disease in 2015.

“One little child had brain cancer, just like my son,” said Biden at the fundraiser, which was held at the Clayton Members Club and Hotel and attended by approximately 60 supporters, including Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and his husband, Marlon Reis, who met the first lady at the airport when her plane touched down that afternoon.

“(The) other children had tumors,” said Biden, “but there they were. They had just gotten there on the long journey.”

The first lady said several more Ukrainian pediatric cancer patients will be arriving at St. Jude early next week for treatment.

Biden also revealed she had spoken on Friday via phone with her husband, President Joe Biden, who was in the midst of a hastily planned trip to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, to convene with world leaders to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“He said the talks were going well,” said the first lady. “He’s trying to get the leaders together.”

The second leg of President Biden’s foreign trip included a visit to Poland, where he met with American troops. On Saturday, Biden held talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda, and later mingled with Ukrainian refugees outside of a Warsaw soccer stadium where thousands have temporarily sought food and shelter.

Jill Biden is two days into a four-day domestic trip; last night’s DNC event is one of at least two she has on her travel schedule. Biden has been actively championing her husband and Democrat lawmakers ahead of what is anticipated to be a hotly contested midterm season later this year.

“I know we’re hitting a couple of bumps in the road with the gas crisis, but I think for the most part we’re moving forward,” Biden told donors in Denver.

On Sunday in California, Biden is also scheduled to attend a DNC meet-and-greet. She returns to Washington on Monday.

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