Casey DeSantis announces $100 million for cancer research, prevention in Florida

Florida’s first lady, 41-year-old Casey DeSantis, revealed her breast cancer diagnosis in October. Now, flanked by doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center, she fired back against cancer on behalf of others.

"We are super excited today to be announcing that the governor, in his proposed budget, is going to be increasing this by 60%. He wants to fund this at $100 million, that we want to put forth for cancer research because we want to find a cure for this damn thing." 

The money is for cancer research and prevention and will be split between Moffitt and Florida’s other nationally recognized cancer centers in Gainesville and Miami.

"Get out there and get those preventative screenings when you can, as early as you can," said DeSantis, who is the mother of three small children, the youngest just 18 months old. 

She said cancer can strike even the young, and getting a mammogram likely saved her life. 

DeSantis said she knows millions of people put off cancer screenings during the pandemic, but they should get in and get screened as soon as possible. 

DeSantis, a former TV host, didn’t answer questions from reporters. But, Moffit’s center director said her visit had value past the state money.

"It’s a heartfelt moment," said John Cleveland, center director at Moffit Cancer Center. "It’s something that matters to her personally and matters to all of us personally, because one out of two of us in any room is going to get cancer."

DeSantis offered advice to others in her situation:

"Just never give up, don’t quit. Just keep fighting," she said.

Doctors at Moffit says cancer kills around 45,000 Floridians a year.