Former Vice President Joe Biden has made combating cancer a primary focus of his post-White House time.
And he recently made one particular cancer patient’s day by giving her some words of encouragement via video call to her hospital bed in Idaho.
Cierra Shaffer is a 17-year-old battling leukemia at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise. She’s about to graduate from Fruitland High School and wanted one of her idols to come watch her cross the stage in May.
According to St. Luke’s public relations manager Anita Kissée, about a month ago, Cierra’s nurses wrote letters to the Biden Foundation as well as Biden himself asking him to come to Cierra’s hometown of Fruitland this spring. After sending out some tweets to emphasize their message, a spokesman for Biden reached out and said that while Biden couldn’t fit a May trip to Idaho into his schedule, he’d love to FaceTime with Cierra.
It all came together on Tuesday, when Cierra’s teacher and nurses surprised her by running into her hospital room at St. Luke’s wearing Biden masks and handing the phone off to her, where Biden’s face happily awaited her.
The two spoke for about 15 minutes, according to Kissée. Biden called Cierra “awesome” and told her that she was going to beat this leukemia. The two even shared one of Biden’s favorite sweet treats over the video call – a scoop of mint chocolate chip on an ice cream cone.
In a video posted by St. Luke’s, the beginning of the conversation can be heard.
“You’re going to beat this thing, because you’ve got to come to see me in Washington. I’ll show you around,” Biden told Cierra. “Then you’ve got to invite me back to Idaho, one of the most beautiful states in America.”
When asked how the call had gone, Cierra is visibly excited in the video.
“That was really cool! I was like, holy cow, a little Idahoan girl talking to a big shot vice president … I’m like, ‘dang!’”
Kissée said that Cierra has been receiving care at St. Luke’s for about four months now. She comes in for a month at a time and this is her final treatment.
Biden seemed to have been enchanted by the teenager. He retweeted one of the video’s posted by Kissée and repeated his words of encouragement while praising Cierra’s nurses – the ones who reached out to him in the first place.
“Cierra, you remembered the most important thing I had to say. You will beat this. And as I’ve always said, if there are any angels in heaven, they are nurses. You’ve got a great team of them there making sure you stay #cierrastrong,” Biden tweeted.