The history and legacy of the Betty Ford Center

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A memorial service for former First Lady Betty Ford will be held Tuesday afternoon at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert. She and late President Gerald Ford worshipped there after he left office in 1977. Betty Ford died Friday at the age of 93.

While she was First Lady, Betty Ford championed breast cancer awareness, abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. But she also endured a very public battle with addiction to alcohol and pain killers.

The Betty Ford Center was founded in October 1982. Ford expected that the center would be a Southern California center, according to John Schwarzlose, the CEO of Betty Ford Center.

He says Ford "really underestimated the demand, the impact [of the center], because of her, and everything she stood for as a woman. That we'd be worldwide. And that today, 29 years later, we're the best known addiction center in the entire world, was something that really overwhelmed Mrs. Ford."...

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