Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Betty Ford

I wanted to say a few words about Betty Ford’s passing.

What an incredible person she was. What a wonderful legacy she leaves. Forced into the spotlight by events she had no control over. She showed incredible courage. Becoming first lady after the Nixon resignation could not have been an easy thing.

I remember that events happened so quickly the Fords were still living in Virginia after Gerald Ford became president. It took a little while for the family to move into the White House. I also remember the incredible poise both the Fords had when the country was in the midst of one of the darkest times in its history.

I think these two points from the Post story on Betty Ford's life really sum it up incredibly well

In an era when cancer was discussed in hushed tones and mastectomy was still a taboo subject, the first lady shared the specifics of her breast cancer surgery. The publicity helped bring the disease into the open and inspired countless women to seek breast examinations.

Her most painful revelation came 15 months after leaving the White House, when Mrs. Ford announced that she was entering treatment for a longtime addiction to painkillers and alcohol. It turned out the famously forthcoming first lady had been keeping a secret, even from herself.

It's hard to believe that before Betty Ford had breast cancer it was hardly talked about. That fact she shared this with the nation started a real conversation about breast cancer in this country. Think of how far we've come since that moment in time.

The same can be said about her addictions. Sharing again. Telling her story. Making people understand and care. Setting up a clinic to help people. Not just the rich and famous but people from all walks of life. In one article I read, it said the Betty Ford Clinic has helped over 90,000 people.

Amazing. Just as Betty Ford was amazing. She will be missed

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