‘I have faith’: Gov. DeSantis speaks openly for 1st time about wife’s breast cancer diagnosis

Governor, First Lady Casey DeSantis have 3 children

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, left, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is pictured with Gov. Ron DeSantis and their three children.
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, left, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is pictured with Gov. Ron DeSantis and their three children. (Photo courtesy of governor's office)

Just over a week after he made the announcement about his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke publicly about it for the first time Tuesday during a news conference in St. Pete Beach.

DeSantis said it hasn’t been easy, but First Lady Casey DeSantis “is a very, very strong woman.”

“She fights. She’s tough,” DeSantis said “I mean she’s basically resigned that, you know, better that she has to go through it than others who may not be able to handle it as well. And that’s just, that’s why I love her. She’s an exceptional person.”

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Casey DeSantis, 41, is the mother of the couple’s three children, the youngest of whom was born after the governor took office in January 2019. After making the announcement on Oct. 4, she resigned as chair of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.

Gov. DeSantis said Tuesday that despite the diagnosis disrupting their lives, he has faith that his wife will make it through.

“I have faith. 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 and you know we’ve got a lot of kids we’ve got to raise, and so it’s tough,” DeSantis said.

He said he hopes being open about her diagnosis will encourage others to go for their regular screenings -- and not just women.

“It wasn’t like she was in a lot of pain. I mean these screenings and the things that you go can really be lifesaving, and so I would just encourage folks, and not just women with breast cancer but men who, you know, there’s certain things that we’re more susceptible to -- make sure that you go in and do that when the physicians tell you to,” DeSantis said. “She just had a feeling she needed to do it and so thank God that she did.”

DeSantis said he knows they’ve got a difficult road ahead -- a road his own mother traveled when he was in elementary school.

“It was a total blur to me. I mean, I remember it going on, but I don’t remember any of the details about what was even -- I was just too young to appreciate it at the time,” DeSantis said of his own mother’s breast cancer battle, which she survived.

He said he’s hopeful his own kids’ young ages will keep them from remembering much of what’s going on with their own mother now.

“That’s something that will hopefully not provide any type of a load on them,” he said.