We are profoundly saddened to learn of the senator’s passing, and our thoughts immediately go out to his family, friends, staff, colleagues and loved ones in this difficult time. Our heartfelt condolences are extended especially to his wife, Cindy, seven children, mother and siblings. We wish them comfort in their time of grieving.
Senator McCain was truly an American hero, from his service to the country during his military career and well-documented valor in Vietnam, to devoting the remainder of his life to the service of the people of Arizona as a United States Senator. He earned the nickname, “Maverick,” for his willingness to buck traditional norms and partisanship and work across the aisle to advance policies he sincerely believed were in the best interest of America. This is an example for all public servants, and indeed all Americans, and a reason why he was so respected and loved by his colleagues in both parties, and why he will be greatly missed.
This news is a further, painful reminder that brain cancer is non-partisan and unsparing across the conventional lines that unfortunately divide us in this nation. The disease can inflict men, women, children of any race, socioeconomic background, or party affiliation. It has taken from us: Beau Biden; the “Lion of the Senate,” Democrat Edward “Ted” Kennedy; and now the “Maverick.” On the surface, these three men have little in common. Yet, famously, the two senators were close friends – as were the Biden and McCain families, as was on full display when the former Vice President, Joe Biden, joined Megan McCain on The View in the fall of 2017.
Regrettably, they will now also be inextricably linked by a disease that impacts 80,000 other American families every year. The reality is that this is not a community anyone chooses to join, but, sadly, chooses you. Our only recourse to break free from this disease that binds us is to unite in a national effort to defeat glioblastoma and all brain tumors.
If there is to be any upshot from this difficult news, it should be greater urgency with which this country rallies to support the nearly 700,000 Americans currently living with a glioblastoma or other brain tumor, while honoring the brave that have been taken from us by this disease.
As Senator McCain often implored during his campaign for president, we as a country are stronger when we dedicate ourselves to “causes greater than [our] own self-interest.” That is our hope at the National Brain Tumor Society; that 2018 will be the year that many across the country came together in a concerted effort, with renewed vigor, to pave the road toward a future of more effective treatments and ultimately a cure. Let this be the moment in our history that we decide to collectively take on glioblastoma and brain tumors with the same earnest with which we dedicate to our other national ills.