Betty Ford to get Hillman Award


    The Alliance for Health is presenting its annual Hillman Award to former First Lady Betty Ford for her contributions to health care in West Michigan.

    Steve Ford, the son of Ford and the late President Gerald R. Ford, is planning to attend the Alliance for Health’s “Once in a Blue Moon @ High Noon” event, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 22 at the JW Marriott, to accept the award on behalf of his mother.

    Alliance for Health President Lody Zwarensteyn said Betty Ford is being recognized for her public and forthright approach to the breast cancer she developed in 1974, shortly after her husband took office, as well as to her dependence on pain-killers and alcohol.

    Ford, now 92, co-founded the Betty Ford Center, a California substance use disorder treatment center. She also helped with the establishment of Betty Ford Breast Care Services of Spectrum Health.

    “The Hillman award annually recognizes people who have truly made a difference in the quality of health care in West Michigan,” Zwarensteyn said. “This year, we are honoring one of our community’s most distinguished and inspirational leaders. Through Mrs. Ford’s courage, advocacy and activism, the nation changed the way it views, talks about and cares … for breast cancer and addiction. West Michigan is incredibly fortunate to be a beneficiary of her ground-breaking vision.”

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