Today, Governor Ron DeSantis released the following statement regarding First Lady Casey DeSantis:
“I am saddened to report that Florida’s esteemed First Lady and my beloved wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady. As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Governor and First Lady DeSantis are loving parents to daughter, Madison, son, Mason and daughter, Mamie – who is the first baby born in the Governor’s Mansion in more than 50 years.
First Lady DeSantis has launched four major initiatives since Governor DeSantis was elected.
Most recently, First Lady DeSantis spearheaded Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency, and Hope. Implemented through the Department of Children and Families, this initiative is uniting communities through ‘‘Care Navigators’ who guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity by focusing on collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities – breaking down traditional community silos in an effort to maximize resources and uncover opportunities.
Beneficiaries of this initiative include, but are not limited to, single parents, Floridians on government assistance, mothers contending with substance abuse disorders, and children aging out of the foster care system. Any Floridian can learn more about connecting with a Pathway to Prosperity ‘Care Navigator’ by visiting HopeFlorida.com or by calling 850-300-HOPE.
In February of 2021, First Lady DeSantis launched the Resiliency Florida initiative – a partnership with professional sports teams and athletes – including Tom Brady, David Beckham, Peyton Manning, Lou Holtz, Tony Dungy, Urban Meyer, Crystal Thomas, Ali Marpet, Bryant McFadden, Mark Richt, Twan Russell, Corey Simon, Tra Thomas, Jonathan Vilma, Charlie Ward, Tyler Johnson, Joey Logano, Brandon Lowe, and Chris Mueller – to address the stigma surrounding mental health. These teams and athletes are lending their voices and personal stories of resilience and hope to empower Florida students to persevere through adversity.
As a part of this initiative, First Lady DeSantis is working with Volunteer Florida and the Florida Department of Education on the Hope Ambassadors program – a network of over 100 middle and high school clubs encouraging a campus culture of kindness and empathy through peer-to-peer mentoring and volunteerism.
Additionally, to support the Resiliency Florida initiative, First Lady DeSantis worked with the Department of Education to develop Character Education Standards to be taught in Florida’s K-12 schools. Passed unanimously by the State Board of Education in July of 2021, these are Florida’s first standards for Character Education, setting clear expectations for students and teachers and providing opportunities for students to learn how character contributes to the overall civic health of a society and understand the importance of resiliency, responsibility, and respect.
In December of 2019, First Lady DeSantis launched “The Facts. Your Future.” campaign – a public affairs partnership between the Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Education. This initiative empowers students with the facts surrounding substance abuse and how it negatively impacts their lives. A major announcement and new developments on this initiative are expected later this year.
First Lady DeSantis’ first major announcement was the Hope for Healing Florida initiative in May of 2019, which brought together stakeholders statewide to discuss new community-level solutions to address mental illness and substance abuse with emphasis on resources for children, veterans and first responders. The Hope for Healing website helps navigate the many ways Floridians can access available resources.
A native of Troy, Ohio, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the College of Charleston. First Lady DeSantis is also a three-time National Champion equestrian, as well as a runner-up Division I NCAA Champion. She worked for the PGA Tour as a producer and on-air host. She earned an Emmy for on-air talent while working in Jacksonville, Florida.
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