Betty Ford: A Remarkable Life |

Betty Ford: A Remarkable Life

Special to the DailyJane and Phil Smiley with Betty Ford.

A celebration of lifeBetty Ford was at the VBCAG’s first annual Celebration of Life luncheon in 1994. Patti Weinstein speaks in glowing terms about what Betty’s support has meant for her once-fledgling organization. “Anything she attaches herself to gains greater credibility,” Weinstein explained. “Anything she touches goes better. She has taken many organizations, grass roots organizations such as my own, and just by being involved, she puts them on the map.” Weinstein went on to say, “Mrs. Ford does it all with an amazing spirit, which is what I love about her so much. She doesn’t go for all the fanfare. It’s never about herself. It’s about the organization. That’s a wonderful attribute. I admire her so much for that.”For many years, a fashion show was presented at the luncheon in which all the models were breast cancer survivors. Mrs. Gerald Ford, a former First Lady of the United States – as well as a former professional model and dancer – graciously agreed to participate. “She was always willing to be a model,” Weinstein said. “She’d strut down the runway, so proud. She has a great sense of humor. And at the end of the show, she did a little dance. She just brought the house down with laughter.”

Many awards have come Betty’s way, recognizing her enormous contributions to breast cancer awareness, early diagnosis and treatment. Some of them are: • Hubert Humphrey Inspirational Award, American Cancer Society, 1982• Komen Foundation Peace Rose (now called the Betty Ford Award), 1983• Breast Cancer Awareness Lifetime Achievement Award,

• Columbia Hosp., 1995• American Health For Women, Women’s Health Hero Award, 1997She is also the namesake of the Betty Ford Cancer Research Center at Cedars Sinai Hospital, as well as the Betty Ford Center for Comprehensive Breast Diagnosis at Columbia Hospital for Women, and the Betty Ford Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center in her home state of Michigan.

Her many awards and honors pale in her estimation compared to the time she has enjoyed with her family. In her 1975 remarks to the American Cancer Society, she said, “Thanks to that checkup last September, good doctors, a loving supportive husband and understanding children – I can truly say this past year has been one of the richest and happiest of my life.” Betty Ford is a master gardener. From the seeds of despair, she grows joy. From fear, she builds hope. From tragedy, she creates triumph. Vail, Colorado

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