Florida leaders rally to Casey DeSantis after breast cancer diagnosis

The outpouring of bipartisan support was swift.

Florida’s political community flooded the First Family with support Monday after First Lady Casey DeSantis shared publicly that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

In a statement, Gov. Ron DeSantis described Casey as the “centerpiece” of the family and called the diagnosis the “most difficult test of her life.” Casey, 41, is a mother of three children: MadisonMason and Mamie. She gave birth to Mamie in March 2020.

“Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up,” Gov. DeSantis said in the statement.

Reaction to the news was swift and supportive.

“My heart goes out to our state’s First Lady Casey DeSantis,” said Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried. “Floridians are in your corner, united in praying for strength for you and your family during this difficult time.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said he spoke with Gov. DeSantis after the announcement. He offered the family his prayer and support.

“My own wife, Katie, has been breast cancer free for 3 years now,” Patronis said. “Nothing makes you cherish each day more than the illness of your life partner and soul mate.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody lauded the First Lady’s tenacity.

“We know with your strength and spirit you will win this fight. Florida loves you and the entire First Family,” Moody said.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, himself a cancer survivor, said he and his wife, Shannon, are praying for the First Lady’s “full and fast healing.”

Senate President Wilton Simpson vowed the support of the entire Senate.

“The prayers of the entire Senate family are with our wonderful First Lady Casey DeSantis, Governor DeSantis and their entire family as they face this serious health challenge,” Simpson said.

Florida Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield offered words of optimism to the First Family.

“She is a strong willed women and will beat this,” Mayfield said.

Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book said she was grieved by the news.

“From one mom to another, sending you hope, love, and strength for a battle I know you will win,” Book said.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee lauded Casey as a “devoted mother” and “strong advocate” for Floridians.

“She has our unwavering support as we pray for her recovery,” Lee said.

Republican Sen. Danny Burgess described Casey as a dear friend of his family.

“We hope she finds strength and encouragement as she has encouraged others,” Burgess wrote.

Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia shared a word from Scripture.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” reads Isaiah 41:10.

Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer called cancer “a bipartisan enemy.” He offered prayers to the family as they begin the “fight.”

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani echoed the bipartisan support.

“I lost my Mom to cancer when I was 13 years old and know how difficult navigating cancer is for families, especially when it’s your Mom,” Eskamani said. “Across party lines you will have ppl cheering you on w/this fight, including me. Stay strong.

Democratic Sen. Lori Berman offered her support to the family.

“Survivors everywhere are here for you,” Berman said. “Like us, you will fight and win this battle.”

Republican Sen. George Gainer said “you will not fight alone.”

“We stand with you and your family,” Gainer added.

Republican Sen. Keith Perry praised Casey DeSantis as person and advocate.

“Casey DeSantis is an incredible woman, mother, and champion for mental health issues,” Perry wrote. “My prayers go out to her and the DeSantis family during this time.”

Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini also offered well wishes.

Praying for the health and recovery of Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis,” he tweeted.

Members of Congress were also among those to wish the First Lady well.

“Judy and I are praying for First Lady Casey DeSantis, and the entire DeSantis family,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “We know Casey is strong and resilient, and will continue to fight through this.” 

Democratic Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist wished the First Lady a “successful treatment” and “speedy recovery.” She, he suggested, is not alone.

“Almost every family has been touched in some way by cancer, and our hearts are with you in this fight,” Crist said. “God bless.”

Republican Congressman Carlos Gimenez offered words of hope to the family.

“While cancer is a devastating disease, medical advances have drastically increased remission and recovery rates,” Gimenez wrote. “With God’s help, I am sure Casey will pull through this difficult time.”

Republican Congressman Byron Donalds said he and his wife, Erika, are saddened by the news.

“She is a fighter and a strong advocate for our state—I know she’ll shine a light on this terrible disease impacting 1 in 8 women,” Donalds said. “Florida stands behind you.”

Republican Congressman Brian Mast praised the First Family as fighters.

“She will come out of this test stronger than ever,” Mast said.

Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy said she is praying for the First Family.

“We’re all in your corner,” Murphy wrote.

Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack urged others to share in her support for the DeSantis family.

“Please join me and Floridians across the state in lifting her up and supporting the DeSantis family during this difficult time,” Cammack wrote.

Republican Congressman Neal Dunn described the news as “heartbreaking.”

“Please join me in praying for Casey’s strength & full recovery, as well as for the entire DeSantis family,” Dunn wrote.

Democratic Congresswoman and Senate candidate Val Demings weighed in with kind words as well.

I’m praying for Casey DeSantis and the DeSantis family,” she wrote. “I wish her a speedy recovery during this difficult time.”

Support came from around the country.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sent kind words on behalf of herself and her husband.

Bryon and I are sending our prayers to Casey and Ron DeSantis. I know Casey DeSantis is a fighter and has the strength to beat breast cancer,” Noem said.

Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert tweeted, “My prayers go out to Casey DeSantis. With the strength of God, she will defeat cancer & be stronger than ever before.”

Kelley Paul, wife of Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul, said Casey DeSantis and the First Family will be in their prayers.

“May God cover this amazing woman and her beautiful family with His love, strength, and healing,” Paul wrote.

Former presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway also tweeted support. “Love, strength and prayers to Casey DeSantis & her family,” she wrote.

Gwen Graham, a former Congresswoman and Democratic candidate for Governor, noted the toll cancer has taken on so many.

“Cancer has touched so many families including my own,” Graham wrote. “My grandmother passed away from breast cancer. My husband continues his fight with prostate cancer. Very sad news to hear that Casey DeSantis is now in the fight as well. Sending all healing prayers.”

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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