Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: March 31, 1966

156
Remarks at the Launching of the 1966 Cancer Crusade.
March 31, 1966

Mr. and Mrs. Peck, Miss Dillard, Mrs. Dillard, ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate very much all of you coming here this morning and allowing me to join with this sweet little girl and Gregory Peck to really launch the kickoff for the 1966 Cancer Crusade.

I know that you come here as busy Americans, but very dedicated people. You symbolize the more than 2 million volunteers in this country who serve each year in the fight against cancer.

Your theme is one of hope and of promise. Although cancer still remains one of the dread enemies, there are more people being cured today of cancer than ever before in our national life. The Federal Government, through its National Cancer Institute, is conducting now and is supporting research that we think offers great hope.

Hodgkins disease, if discovered early, can now be fully controlled in 40 percent of the cases for periods up to 15 years by the X-ray treatment. Drugs are proving very effective against certain forms of cancer. One type of malignancy in women can now be cured with chemicals. Leukemia, which takes the lives of so many of our children, is yielding itself to research. More than 100 children with this disease have survived 5 years or longer and they are free of symptoms following drug treatment. Our scientists believe that leukemia may be caused by a virus. If this should be proved, perhaps a vaccine could give us some added protection against it.

So these are the things that the American Cancer Society is trying so hard to bring to the attention of all of the American people through their pamphlets, through meetings like this, through programs that they have planned. Those of you engaged in that work are breaking through the fear of superstition that has surrounded this terrible disease all of my life. You are telling Americans that early detection and early treatment may save the lives of innumerable Americans.

So working hand in hand with our scientists and our researchers and our surgeons, your Federal Government and your President is very proud of the role that we are playing in cancer research, in publicizing the efforts that we are making, in trying to lead and educate our people.

Two new programs now are getting underway which will do much to assure early detection and early treatment. On the one hand, Medicare, which we struggled and fought for for so many years, will provide the financial resources to bring treatment to a larger number of our older citizens whoare, of course, the most susceptible to cancer. On the other hand, the regional medical programs that I proposed last year for the treatment of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, in which the Congress cooperated, will assure that the greatest number of all of our people can now have access to the latest results of all of our medical information and medical treatment.

Some day I hope and am going to pray that we will find a cure for cancer. I want it done in my time. I want to play my part in it. I want to do something about it.

The loneliest moment I ever had in my life was when I learned that my mother was gone from me, because of this terrible disease.

The foundation for this breakthrough is being laid by the men and women who are here today. And a great unified national effort is underway and I am so proud to salute the leaders and the doers in this field. This gives me a chance, again, to especially express the appreciation of the President and the people of this Nation to the distinguished artist, Mr. Gregory Peck, for the innumerable voluntary hours of work that he has given to the good causes which have led to a better life for Americans: our poverty program, our beautification program, our peace program, our health program, our education program, the things that give us a richer and fuller and more useful life.

It is a pleasure to have him here this morning with this attractive little lady who is a doer and shows it can be done. I want to welcome you and thank you at the same time.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. His opening words referred to actor Gregory Peck, Crusade Chairman for the American Cancer Society, and his wife, and to Julie Alice Dillard of Santa Rosa, Calif., and her mother, Mrs. James Dillard.

Mr. Peck introduced 9-year old Julie Alice, the 1966 Society poster girl who was cured of cancer. She presented to the President the first copy of the educational folder which was distributed during the Crusade.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "156 Remarks at the Launching of the 1966 Cancer Crusade.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466 382. Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5A9J8ZF672377TQ.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "156 Remarks at the Launching of the 1966 Cancer Crusade." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466, page 382. Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5A9J8ZF672377TQ.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '156 Remarks at the Launching of the 1966 Cancer Crusade.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1465-1466, pp.382. Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=5A9J8ZF672377TQ.