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First Lady Casey DeSantis announces $100 million for cancer research in governor's budget proposal

First Lady Casey DeSantis, who is battling breast cancer herself, made the announcement while talking with leaders at Moffitt Cancer Center.

TAMPA, Fla. — In Gov. Ron DeSantis' proposed budget, there is $100 million carved out to fund cancer research in the state of Florida, the first lady announced Tuesday.

First Lady Casey DeSantis, who is battling breast cancer, shared the news on the governor's behalf while talking with leaders at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“He wants to fund this at $100 million, that we wanna put forth for cancer research because we wanna find a cure for this damn thing," she said.

According to the first lady, the proposed funding is a 60-percent increase from what cancer research centers, like Moffitt, received in last year's budget.

“We know that this type of funding actually does make a difference. So, this type of funding support activities that actually matter and are part of how science in different fields has advanced," Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said.

In years past, this type of funding helped train clinicians and scientists, care for patients at cancer centers and assisted in funding research, according to Ladapo.

The first lady also shared how cancer has impacted her family, pushed for early screenings and said that while great innovative treatments are out there “we even need to go a little bit further.” 

“This really is how we pave the way forward to expanding knowledge and improving treatments and proving prevention and proving the strategies we use to address health disparities, which is some of the work that’s being done here and at the other cancer institutes in Florida," Ladapo added.

Moffitt is Florida's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, recognizing it as being a top facility for scientific discoveries and promising cancer treatments. On its website, it describes being a pioneer in medical advancements like CAR T-cell therapy.

“These funds are going to be extremely important for our mission to prevent and cure cancers, Moffitt President and CEO Dr. Patrick Hwu said.

The proposed money is going to help the cancer center both apply screenings and train people to provide screenings.

The governor has dubbed his wife a "true fighter" as she undergoes her own cancer treatments. The 41-year-old's diagnosis was first revealed in early October.

Casey DeSantis, a former Emmy-winning television personality at our sister-station in Jacksonville, has taken an active role in her husband's administration. She has spearheaded efforts touching everything from mental health to substance abuse and education.

The Ohio native has a bachelor's degree in economics from the College of Charleston. She's an equestrian, with three national titles.

Ron and Casey DeSantis married in 2010. They have three children: Madison, 4, Mason, 3, and 18-month-old Mamie.