Testimonials to Betty Ford

By Dirk Hanson 07/12/11

In the wake of Mrs. Ford’s death, celebrities and politicians tell their personal stories about her work in raising awareness of addiction and recovery.

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Tributes keep coming.
Photo via celebdirtylaundry

Since the death of former First Lady and recovery icon Betty Ford last Friday at the age of 93, testimonials and praise for the co-founder of the Betty Ford Center have been flooding the media. Mrs. Ford devoted her life after the White House to the cause of drug treatment and recovery, after her own treament for drug and alcohol addiction. One of the most outspoken First Ladies in American history, she was a symbol for women, because of her independent life, and for addicts, because of her honesty. Here is a sampling of the twitter tributes
and other testimonials bouncing around the Internet:

Barack Obama

“After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.”

George W. Bush

Laura and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Betty Ford. We admired her as a first lady and valued her as a friend. She made countless contributions to our country, and we especially appreciate her courage in calling attention to breast cancer and substance abuse. Because of her leadership, many lives were saved.”

Bill and Hillary Clinton

“Her courage, compassion, and commitment to helping our nation deal with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction helped thousands of people to a successful recovery and in the process she helped to save countless families. We were honored to host President and Mrs. Ford at the White House in 1998 when they received the Congressional Gold Medal for their dedication and service to our nation.”

Nancy Pelosi

“Betty Ford was remarkable-an agent of change and women's advocate who saved lives bringing addiction out of the shadows.”

John Boehner

"An inspiration to countless others, Betty Ford's name is synonymous with perseverance and personal triumph. This spring, when a statue of President Ford was placed in the Capitol, the celebration was as much a tribute to Betty as it was to him."

Maria Shriver

"America fought her struggles with her and learned alongside her. She was brave, outspoken and kind. As a journalist, I had the opportunity to interview her several times and she was just fascinating. She was a wonderful woman who stood up for any human being struggling in the shadows of their personal pain.”

Gena Rowlands

"I was honored to play Betty Ford. I have the utmost admiration for her guts and humanity at a time when people didn't even say the word breast cancer. She inspired every woman in America, and a lot of people are sober because of her. She is a national treasure."

Gary Busey

"To the Ford family-- Celebrate her life on the new plateau she is on-- The Busey-ism for DEATH is: Don't Expect A Tragedy Here. Betty's still living in a new dimension so celebrate her life now as you celebrated her life on earth!"

Stevie Nicks

"As far as I'm concerned, Betty Ford did save my life...“I thought, 'God, if Betty Ford can come through this, I can come through it, too.' Talk about being famous and being in rehab! 'Oh no, I can't do that, I'm too famous' - well, come on! She was the first lady of the United States. So that really, really made my need to fix myself even stronger.”

Michael Moore

“RIP Betty Ford. She was pro-choice & outspoken & all of Michigan loved her. She fought 4 the Equal Rights Amendment that we still don't have.”

Donna Brazile

“As First Lady, Betty Ford changed so many lives, opened up doors for those fighting depression, addictions and other issues. We mourn her loss.”

Steven Tyler

"Betty Ford took a risk at one of the worst times of her life and came forward to share a message of recovery in order to serve others. Her vision, passion and amazing heart led to the Betty Ford Center, the gold standard of treatment facilities. She will be missed, but her work in recovery will live on."

Ozzy Osborne

“Sharon told me it (the Betty Ford Center) was a club where they would teach me to drink like a gentleman. I got there and asked Betty where the bar was!”

And a word from Betty Ford herself: "People who get well often say, 'You saved my life,' and 'You've turned my life around.’ They don't realize we merely provided the means for them to do it themselves, and that's all.”



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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]