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Fri., July 8, 2011, 7:57 p.m.

Leading lady

FILE - This Aug. 11, 1975 photo released by CBS-TV shows first lady Betty Ford as she appeared on
FILE - This Aug. 11, 1975 photo released by CBS-TV shows first lady Betty Ford as she appeared on "60 Minutes." Ford, the former first lady whose triumph over drug and alcohol addiction became a beacon of hope for addicts and the inspiration for her Betty Ford Center, has died, a family friend said Friday, July 8, 2011. She was 93. (Cbs-tv)

"He who conceals his disease, cannot expect to be cured," says the Ethiopian proverb.

Former first lady Betty Ford died today. She will be remembered as a woman who did not conceal her disease - and consequently helped others to not conceal theirs,  seeking to be cured.  

 Her story of her own descent into addiction and recovery led her to campaign for better addiction treatment, especially for women.  In 1982, she co-founded the nonprofit Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.  Nearly 90,000 people have sought treatment at the Center.  

Her willingness to speak publically about her personal health journey and her personal opinions endeared her to America during the 1970s. She was informed, articulate and no nonsense about her beliefs. She spoke with class and conviction.  As a first lady, she found her place in the political world doing what she enjoyed: entertaining, indulging in fads and creating a welcoming home for leaders from around the world. Her legacy remains one of courage, integrity and compassion. A quiet, unassuming hero.

(Spokesman-Review archive photo)

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