By Isabella Brady
In 2020, roughly 1.8 million Americans have received a cancer diagnosis. While the numbers have soared by 30%between 1973 and 2015, there are millions more, families and friends who suffer the loss of loved ones, and are not accounted for. As Kamala Harris rose to Vice President of the United States, and the first female executive leader, she brought a focus on this issue through her own experience with the deadly disease.
Harris’s mother, Shyamalan Gopalan was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2008 and passed away shortly after in 2009. After the loss of her mother, Harris voiced her grief, describing the day she received the news of her mother’s illness as “one of the worst days of my life”. Since, her mission has followed her mother’s footsteps in cancer research and affordable Medicare. On one occasion in her campaign, Harris proudly stated “as I continue the battle for a better health system, I do so in her [Gopalan’s] name”. Vice President Harris currently works toward eliminating insurance discrimination against people with pre-existing medical conditions, allowing more people to recieve financial assistance regardless of their medical expenses, and histories.
Harris’s dedication to this act differentiates her from previous leaders, with her personal experience and goals to improve the lives of United States citizens.
Most of my life, since elementary school, I have been impacted by cancer of my immediate and extended family. I was able to see the close hand effects of diagnosis and treatment in the important people in my life, and as I have become older, I have found friends who relate to my experiences. Watching Harris in her campaigns I wondered how she hoped to address these issues in the country. I wrote a digital letter, sending it, unsure if I would hear anything back. However, a few months later I received an email stating her hopes as a Senator and during her Presidential primary bid. Launching her term as official Vice President, her goals are encouraging to Americans everywhere who hope to see a cure for cancer, and affordable medical care for loved ones. In her letter, she says “as part of our fight against cancer, we must also ensure that all people have access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare”.
In her attached letter, the Vice President wholeheartedly conveys her support and plans for finding a solution, a beacon of encouragement and hope for American society.