BETTY FORD (1918- )
Former First Lady Betty Ford, born Betty Ann Bloomer in 1918, was a pioneering force for the causes of substance abuse rehabilitation and breast cancer awareness. Never before had a public figure, let alone a First Lady, allowed the people to know so much of her private life. Betty Ford stunned the nation with her public admission of her prescription drug and alcohol abuse. By allowing all to see that drug and alcohol abuse can affect anyone and, more importantly, that a person can recover from those addictions, Ford set an example. Her passion for helping others with the same struggles led her and her husband, President Gerald Ford, to establish the Betty Ford Clinic. Over the years, the Betty Ford Clinic has helped celebrities and ordinary people alike break free of substance abuse.
Not only did Betty Ford speak openly about her substance abuse, but also she revealed her struggle with breast cancer. Going public with her mastectomy raised national awareness for breast cancer. Her life is a living and lasting legacy of how our experiences can shape and make better the lives of countless others.