Susan Ford Bales
(Topics: Family Substance Abuse; Cancer, Heart Disease) Presidential daughter and advocate for awareness of substance abuse, breast cancer and her own experience with heart disease. .The daughter of former President Gerald Ford and Betty Ford, Susan Ford Bales' adolescence was spent in the White House during one of the most turbulent times in American history. In addition to speaking about living in the White House, Bales also addresses the impact of substance abuse on her family. She is also one of the nation's most visible advocates for breast cancer awareness, and shares her own story of experiencing cardiac arrest in 2010.
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Susan Ford Bales is a Virginia native and now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is the daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford and is married to Vaden Bales, an attorney with the Hall Estill firm in Tulsa. Susan is the mother of two daughters, Tyne Berlanga and Heather Devers, three grandchildren, Joy Elizabeth Berlanga, Cruz Vance Berlanga, Elizabeth Blanche Devers, and three step-sons, Kevin, Matthew, and Andrew Bales.
Susan was raised in Alexandria, Virginia and attended Holton Arms School and Mount Vernon College, where she studied photojournalism. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate Of Public Service degree, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree, and an Honorary Doctorate Of Humane Letters degree. She is the author of two novels set in the White House, "Double Exposure: A First Daughter Mystery", and its sequel, "Sharp Focus."
Susan is the Ship's Sponsor for the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), which she officially christened on November 9, 2013. On April 8, 2016, she was named an Honorary Naval Aviator by the United States Navy. Susan is only the 31st American to receive this distinction, and she the first woman is history to be so honored. Susan has served as a Trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation since 1981 and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Foundation's Programs Committee. Susan's work with the Foundation centers on promoting the ideals of integrity, courage, and candor that were the hallmarks America's 38th President and his distinguished service as a Naval Officer in World War II, member of Congress, and as Vice President and President.
During her high school years, Susan lived in the White House and served as official White House hostess following her mother's surgery for breast cancer in 1974. In 1984, she and her mother helped launch National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Susan subsequently served as national spokesperson for breast cancer awareness. Since the founding of the Betty Ford Center in 1982, Susan worked side by side with her mother on projects at the Center and was elected to the Center's Board of Directors in 1992. She succeeded her mother as Chairman of the Board from 2005 - 2010, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
In addition to her many charitable and public service activities, Susan serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health, Co-Trustee of the President Gerald R. Ford Historical Legacy Trust, Trustee of the Elizabeth B. Ford Charitable Trust, the Executive Board of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Foundation, and the Honorary Advisory Committee of the Children's National Medical Center