Susan  Ford Bales

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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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.

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.

Susan and her husband, Vaden Bales, live in Tulsa, OK. She has two daughters, a son-in-law and three step-sons.

    "You took Baton Rouge by storm and made a HUGE difference. We more than doubled our fundraising dollars."

    Obrien House, Baton Rouge, LA

    "Her talk was so powerful and well received."

    - The Drug Council of Mobile, Alabama

    "Her presentation was very educational and her personal experience with her mother was particularly moving."

    - Ireland Cancer Center

    "Susan Ford was the best speaker we've had. She was so REAL. Her authenticity, emotion and sincerity were touching and refreshing. Susan is so brave to share such a personal story of love, pain, hope and forgiveness. It was good to hear from a family member. I forgot how brave Betty Ford was to bring both breast cancer and addiction out in the daylight for all to hear about."

    Cumberland Heights Foundation

    Susan Ford Bales delivers a message about cancer that is at once powerful and tender. Her family's extraordinary candor and courage during a time when cancer was rarely openly discussed inspire hope, as does her intimate and historical perspective. Susan offers camaraderie and a voice of strength as she calls upon us all to both take action and take the fear out of cancer. A seasoned, articulate, and passionate speaker, Susan shares a poignant story and a priceless glimpse into a definitive chapter in cancer advocacy.

    The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation