Feisty, feminist, former First Lady. Controversial cancer conqueror. Pro-choice pacifist. Award-winning addiction advocate. There are so many wonderful words to describe the late, great Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford. But here in the Palm Springs Valley, our Betty is best beloved for co-founding, in 1982, alongside Ambassador Leonard Firestone, The Betty Ford Center, a non-profit residential chemical dependency recovery facility adjacent to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
When Ford died of natural causes at age 93 on July 8, 2011, the loss was palpable certainly throughout the world. But nowhere was it felt more acutely than right here in Rancho Mirage and within the walls of the clinic that bears her name. Ford was BFC’s chairman of the board for 23 years, from its inception until 2005. Now with her passing, the institution—which boasts more than 90,000 alumni across the globe—is decidedly determined to continue to do her proud.
“Betty Ford Center staff and alumni held a celebration of Mrs. Ford’s life on Thursday, July 21, and will be holding another special tribute celebration to her on September 27,” said CEO John Schwarzlose. “Mrs. Ford’s vision for the Betty Ford Center has been our cornerstone for 29 years and will continue to be going forward. The 250 staff at BFC believe the best way to honor the incredible legacy of our founder, Betty Ford, is to continue to offer the highest quality of care for every man and woman who walks into the Center asking for help.”