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‘I’m sure as hell not giving up’: Casey DeSantis makes first public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis during a speech in Hernando County. (Photo Credit: Sasso Media Group, LLC) (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

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

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

“I think there is a lot that we can be upset about, that we can be sad about,” DeSantis said. “The direction of our country, securing our nation, our families, our communities, our safety, our children, their education, their futures, our health and our well-being. But I’ll tell you one thing is for sure: I’m sure as hell not giving up.”

Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis made her first public appearance since it was announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Oncologist , Jennifer Crozier says the public awareness is important.

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

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

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 131,409 Florida women 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.

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

The video of her Saturday speech closed with one final call for resilience.

“Never ever, ever give up the fight, ever,” Casey DeSantis said. “I have only begun to fight.”

On the website Freemammograms.org, you can find access to free or low-cost mammograms in Florida:


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Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.