First Lady Casey DeSantis Visits Nemours Children’s Health, Recognizes Incredible Specialist in Cancer Patients, Highlights Proposal for Record Investment in Cancer Research

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Press Release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Today First Lady Casey DeSantis visited Nemours Specialty Care Clinic to highlight Florida’s investment in cancer research and treatment. During the visit, First Lady DeSantis presented the First Lady’s Medal for Courage, Commitment, and Service to Child Life Specialist Joli Craver. Ms. Craver supports pediatric patients and their parents during cancer treatment by encouraging play, learning and self-expression. Nemours Children’s Health is one of many Florida hospital systems that is taking an innovative approach to cancer research and care. To support cancer centers across the state, Gov. DeSantis has recommended $100 million for cancer research and care in Florida’s 2022-2023 budget, an increase of $37 million, or nearly 60%, from last year’s funding.

“I am proud of Gov. DeSantis’ proposed historic $100 million cancer-fighting investment in Florida — this funding will improve the quality and competitiveness of cancer care across the state,” he said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Florida’s world-class cancer facilities, like Nemours Specialty Care Clinic, take a patient-centered, quality approach to care, as demonstrated by Ms. Craver. She deserves today’s recognition for her more than twenty-five years of bringing joy to children undergoing treatment.”

“Like so many Floridians, Governor and First Lady DeSantis have been personally impacted by cancer and have shown resilience in battling the disease,” he said Secretary of the Health Care Agency Simone Marstiller. “The governor’s proposed budget strengthens the state’s commitment to cancer research, which will lead to new cures and better outcomes for Florida families. With the goal of the governor as our leading man and building on his efforts, the agency is working with the Florida Legislature to provide greater access to comprehensive cancer care for Floridians enrolled in Medicaid.”

As of 2014, cancer is the second leading cause of death in Florida, after heart disease. According to estimates by the American Cancer Society, over 47,000 deaths in Florida were attributed to cancer in 2021. Florida also has the second highest cancer burden in the United States.

The proposed $100 million will be used to advance cancer care and research at three Florida cancer institutes — the Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center through the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute (NCI). Centers program that benefits cancer patients across Florida.

Over the past three years, the consortium has treated more than 67,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients, updated nearly 32,000 current and prospective clinicians and scientists on the latest advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and shared research in 75 different collaborative publications. Florida also provides funding for additional initiatives that support pediatric cancer research and grants that support cancer research at other institutes not designated by the NCI.


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