Jill Biden to meet with four Ukrainian children transported to US for cancer treatment
By Jennifer Hansler and Kate Bennett, CNN
(CNN) -- Four Ukrainian children were transported to the United States for cancer treatment with the help of the US State Department and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday, and they will meet with first lady Jill Biden on Friday.
According to Price, the State Department helped to airlift the children and "some of their immediate family members from Poland to Memphis International Airport, where they were met and transported to St. Jude."
"There, the patients will be able to safely resume critical cancer therapy disrupted by the Kremlin's aggression. They will receive the specialized care they desperately need, and their family members will be afforded sustenance, security, and support from St. Jude," he said in a statement.
In a tweet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that "Children are among the most vulnerable in a crisis," saying the State Department was "humbled" to help airlift them.
Biden is traveling to the hospital on Friday, where she will personally meet with the children, her spokesman Michael LaRosa confirmed to CNN. The East Wing indicated Biden's Friday visit to St. Jude will include highlighting programs and services for pediatric cancer patients in relation to the Biden-Harris administration Cancer Moonshot initiative, for which the first lady is advocating as one of her primary initiatives. She is also scheduled to give public remarks during her visit.
Civilians, including children, have faced significant violence in Russia's weeks-long war in Ukraine. As of Friday, at least 847 civilians, including 64 children, had been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, according to the United Nations, which said the actual death toll is likely much higher.
Price said the four children "represent a small proportion of the thousands of patients whose cancer treatment has been interrupted and, who, even amid a pandemic and with compromised immune systems, were forced to flee their homes."
"That is why, together with our allies and partners, we will continue to support our Ukrainian partners as we seek to save lives and bring this needless war to a close," he said.
CNN has reached out to St. Jude for comment.
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