Daughter of former President Gerald R. Ford and Mrs. Betty Ford, Susan Ford Bales speaks throughout the world about the impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on families. Susan was the former Chairman of the Board of the Betty Ford Center in California.
In working side by side with her mother at the Betty Ford Center since 1992, Susan shares her insights on the impact of addiction on the entire family, including young children and the special needs women have during treatment. She also shares her vision of medical training that includes physician education about addiction and the latest updates about new programs and practices.
Susan is also a visible advocate and spokesperson for breast cancer awareness. She was affected directly by her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 1974 and has emphasized the importance of early detection in numerous speeches to medical organizations, women’s groups, hospitals and other forums. She also shares the effects of this disease on the patients and their loved ones. Susan served as national spokesperson for Breast Cancer Awareness for 16 years.
Susan was raised in Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from the Holton Arms School, Bethesda, Maryland; attended Mount Vernon College, Washington, D.C.; and studied photojournalism at the University of Kansas. She spent her adolescence in the White House during one of the most turbulent times in American history.
As a professional photographer who studied with Ansel Adams, Susan recently has taken a different position in the public eye. A lover of mystery novels, Susan has used her knowledge of the inner workings of the White House to co-author two mystery novels, Double Exposure and Sharp Focus.
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Susan has received numerous awards including the National Betty Ford Award from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She has addressed the Women’s Federation for World Peace in 1997 in Japan and in 1999 in Korea. In addition to her duties as Chairman of the Board of the Betty Ford Center, she is a member of the board of directors of the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library and the Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Susan and her husband, Vaden Bales, live in Tulsa, OK. She has two daughters, a son-in-law and three step-sons.