Casey DeSantis makes first public appearance since cancer diagnosis

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis made her first public appearance this weekend, nearly two weeks after announcing she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

DeSantis, 41, received a standing ovation when she surprised guests at Saturday’s Hernando County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, according to a video first reported by Fox News.

“I think there’s a lot that we can be angry about, that we can be sad about,” DeSantis said. “The direction of our country, securing our nation, our families, our communities, our security, our children, their education, their future, our health and our well-being. But I will tell you one thing is certain: I am sure I will not give up.”

Her husband Governor Ron DeSantis spoke Monday at a news conference in Brooksville about his wife’s comments and strength. He said Casey DeSantis wanted to speak on Saturday to thank her supporters.

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“It was a really inspiring message, an inspiring moment, and really her message is, this is not something anyone should have to deal with, but unfortunately these things happen in life and so the key is that with courage and determination will respond. and she will not be denied,” said Ron DeSantis. “Her fight is inspiring to me. And you know, I said it at dinner, she’s coming back better than ever. I don’t know when, but I know it’s going to happen.”

Ron and Casey DeSantis have three children under the age of 5. The youngest became the first baby to be born at the Florida governor’s mansion in more than 50 years. Ron DeSantis said Monday that his wife’s story resonated with so many people, in part because breast cancer tends to affect mothers he called the centers of our communities.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 131,409 women in Florida were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. The rate of 438 per 100,000 is nearly four times higher than the national rate of 127 cases.

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Support resources for women with breast cancer in Florida, as well as preventive care information, can be found at https://www.floridabreastcancer.org/support-resources.

The video of her speech on Saturday concluded with a final call for resilience.

“Never, ever give up the fight,” said Casey DeSantis. “I just started fighting.”

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