Laura Simmons Dr. Cheri Tillman HONS 1990 Betty Ford A Human Leader
Personal Background • Born in Chicago Illinois on April 8, 1918. • Her father passed away when she was sixteen. • Professionally trained as a dancer—having performed in Carnegie Hall. • “Dancing was my happiness.” • Married William Warren in 1942, divorced five years later. • Married Gerald Ford in1948
Why Famous? • Famous by association… • Brought into the public eye when husband Gerald R. Ford became president in 1974. • Betty Ford took full advantage of the intensely public position of First Lady • She was an asset to her husband’s career but, she made it clear that she had opinions of her own.
Awards and Honors • Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award – 1978 • Hubert Humphrey Inspirational Award - The American Cancer Society – 1982 • Komen Foundation Award - The Susan G. Komen Foundation - 1983 (this award, given for support of breast cancer research and education is now called the Betty Ford Award) • Harding Award - National Arthritis Foundation - 1984 (the highest award from the Foundation for volunteer services) • Commitment to Life Award - AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) – 1985 • Gold Key Award - National Council on Alcoholism – 1986 • Freedom of Human Spirit Award - International Center for the Disabled – 1987 • Citation of Layman for Distinguished Service - American Medical Association – 1989 • Hall of Fame Award - International Women's Forum – 1991 • Presidential Medal of Freedom - awarded by President Bush – 1991 • Breast Cancer Awareness Lifetime Achievement Award - Columbia Hospital for Women, Washington, D.C. – 1995 • National Samaritan Award - The Samaritan Institute, Denver, CO – 1995 • Distinguished Service Award from the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, New York City (presented in Los Angeles) – 1995 • American Health for Women, Women's Health Heo Award – 1997 • American Institute for Public Service, Jefferson Award – 1997 • The Michigan Women's Foundation, Women of Achievement & Courage – 1997 • Women's International Center, Living Legacy Award – 1998 • Ronald McDonald House Charities Award of Excellence – 1998 • Congressional Gold Medal - 1999
Descriptions… • “A housewife who argued passionately for equal rights for women, a mother of four who mused about drugs, abortion and premarital sex aloud and without regret.” • “Her gift for giving is legendary, her outreach powerful, her honesty unparalleled.” • “She had the self-confidence to express herself with humor and forthrightness whether speaking to friends or to the public.”
Specific Situation • Mastectomy for breast cancer on September 28, 1974. • Open about an illness that was “just not discussed” • “When other women have this same operation, it doesn’t make any headlines, but the fact that I was the wife of the President put it in headlines and brought before the public this particular experience I was going through. It made a lot of women realize that it could happen to them. I’m sure I’ve saved at least one person—maybe more.”
A “Personal” Problem • 1964 • Pain in her neck • Diagnosed as a pinched nerve. • Keep her in bed for weeks. • Developed arthritis • Put on painkillers • Addicted • Spend more time alone, developed a drinking problem • Psychiatrist • Refused to admit that she had a problem with pills or alcohol.
Not So Personal Anymore… • Betty Ford threw herself wholeheartedly into the 1976 campaign • The pinched nerve began to cause her problems again • Used painkillers heavily • Her speech was sometimes slurred during appearances • Years After the White House… • Often left alone at retirement home in California • She countered her loneliness with alcohol and pills. • Her family became alarmed • In 1978 they had an intervention. • Long Beach Naval Hospital • The treatment was tough, but she later acknowledged that it probably saved her life.
Legacy • Betty Ford Clinic for substance abuse recovery • The Times of My Life in 1978 • Betty: A Glad Awakening in 1987 • The Betty Ford Cancer Research Center at Cedars Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, CA - 1978 • The Betty Ford Center for Comprehensive Breast Diagnosis at Columbia Hospital for Women, Washington, D.C. - 1980 • The Betty Ford Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center, Grand Rapids, MI - 1987 • The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado - 1989
Sources • http://www.ford.utexas.edu/avproj/hseries/h48-1b.gif • http://www.whitehousehistory.org/04/subs_pph/images/uploads/38/145.jpg • http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2006-12/27/xin_291203280848324969748.jpg • http://www.who2.com/bettyford.html • http://www.ford.utexas.edu/grf/bbfaward.asp • http://www.ford.utexas.edu/grf/bbfbiop.asp • http://www.infoplease.com/biography/var/bettyford.html • http://www.wic.org/bio/bford.htm • http://www.answers.com/topic/betty-ford • http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=39 • http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/ef38.html