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Former First Lady Commemorates Betty Ford’s 96th Birthday

Posted at 1:06 PM, Apr 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-08 13:06:27-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 8, 2014) — Tuesday marks what would have been former first lady Betty Ford’s 96th birthday. It was also a chance to talk about how she helped bring women’s health to light.

Rosalynn Carter joined Ford’s son, Steve, as they spoke to hundreds at a special luncheon and panel discussion in Grand Rapids.

It wasn’t a month into her husband’s presidency when Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer. Together, they took their fight publicly in hopes of inspiring others.

“At the time in the 70s, women did not talk about breast cancer,” said Steve Ford, President Ford’s son.

“You couldn’t even say beast on TV let alone talk about it. So to see mom and dad stand on the lawn of the White House holding hands and say we are going to take the shame out of this disease and be transparent, that was a big step in our country.”

Carter has been an advocate in trying to remove the stigma of mental health for over 40 years. She said she always looked at Betty Ford as a role model.

Ford said while his mother will always be known as a great first lady, he will always remember her as a great mother.