Gov. Ron DeSantis opened up about his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis, sharing her experience and recalling his mother’s cancer diagnosis with reporters.
The Governor’s office announced First Lady Casey DeSantis’ diagnosis last week. On Tuesday, the Governor spoke publicly about what the diagnosis has meant for his young family.
After a deep exhale, he said Casey is a strong woman, adding that it hasn’t been easy for her and the family to come to terms with the diagnosis.
“I got faith in the big guy upstairs, and I’ve got faith in her, and I know that this is a bad break, but she’s got an awful lot to live for for the rest of her life,” the Governor said.
Casey, 41, is an Emmy Award winning TV host. The DeSantises married in 2010 and have three children, Madison, Mason and Mamie. Casey gave birth to Mamie in March 2020. Madison, the eldest, is 4.
“We’ve got a lot of kids we’ve got to raise, and so it’s tough,” DeSantis said.
After DeSantis’ election in 2018, the First Family became the first since the 1970s to have young children when they moved into the Governor’s Mansion the following January. Mamie DeSantis was the first baby born in the Governor’s Mansion in decades.
Casey DeSantis, of Troy, Ohio, was a Jacksonville-area television host prior to her husband’s ascension in politics. That included working for the PGA Tour as a producer and on-air host.
The Governor also opened up about his mother, who is a cancer survivor. He was in elementary school, older than the DeSantises’ children are now, when she was diagnosed. Still, he doesn’t remember many details.
“Our kids really have no concept of what’s going on,” he said. “And in some respects, that’s something that’ll hopefully not provide any type of a load on them.”
Casey DeSantis has been an advocate for mental health awareness, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, she unveiled a campaign to improve mental resiliency in children that would go on to feature people including Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
She has also spearheaded initiatives such as Hope for Healing, which she launched in May 2019 to address mental illness and substance abuse with an emphasis on children, veterans and first responders.
However, she has started stepping back from some initiatives. The Governor on Friday appointed Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo as chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, replacing the First Lady.
“She has initiatives, some of these things that she may not be able to do and the immediate future that maybe she’ll pass the baton to me, but she’s gonna be back,” the Governor said. “So she just wanted people to kind of know that.”
He also relayed the importance of both men and women getting cancer screenings. His wife wasn’t in a lot of pain, but felt like she needed to get screened.
Casey fights and she’s tough, he added.
“She’s basically resigned that better that she has to go through it than others who may not be able to handle it as well,” the Governor said. “That’s why I love her. She’s an exceptional person.”