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Betty Ford, women's health advocate and breast cancer survivor, laid to rest

Betty Ford, the wife of former President Gerald Ford, was laid to rest Thursday, July 14, in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She will be interred next to her husband at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. She passed away on July 8 at the age of 93.

Ford, a tireless advocate for women's rights, made major breast cancer health news, as she courageously and publicly battled the disease as first lady from 1974 to 1977. After undergoing a mastectomy in 1974, just two months after her husband became president, she led efforts to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer.

As a result of her public ordeal, women around the world learned about the importance of regular breast exams, early detection and emotional support when fighting breast cancer.

"It made a lot of women realize that it could happen to them," Ford told Time Magazine in 1974 after her surgery. "I'm sure I've saved at least one person - maybe more."

Many women admired Ford's courage to speak her mind, and many others were inspired by her grace during difficult struggles, including seeking treatment for alcoholism and her addiction to pain-killers in 1978.

"Thanks for teaching us all to be first ladies," said one message left at the museum, according to Reuters.
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