Former “First Daughter” Speaks in Salina

The daughter of a United States President  wowed the audience at an event in Salina. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford, spoke at CKF’s Unmask the Stigma Gala Saturday night.

Susan is the only daughter of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States and his wife Betty Ford. Susan is also the former Chair of the Betty Ford Center, succeeding her mother.

The Betty Ford Center was founded in 1982, with Betty Ford- “the First Lady of Recovery”- bringing unprecedented visibility to the problem of drug addiction and the promise of treatment and recovery.

Susan tells KSAL News her mother’s passion for addiction, or what’ precisely known as  substance abuse disorder, came after Betty Ford beat breast cancer and then overcame her own addictions of a combination of doctor-prescribed drugs and alcohol.


Susan says there was a stigma then, which still exists today, surrounding substance abuse and recovery. Her message to everyone was not complicated. She says there is “hope and healing” out there. She says there is good treatment that can be found for those who are suffering from substance abuse, and also importantly for those who are closest to them.


This is the second year of the gala event in Salina. All money raised will support CKF Addiction Treatment’s capital campaign to expand the Bridgehouse program for women with and without children to receive free housing for 90 days while obtaining addiction health care on-site, health care services offered by partner agencies, and access/engagement with community resources as they create their path of recovery.

CKF Addiction Treatment has been providing quality and effective addiction health care services in Kansas since 1967. CKF recognizes addiction as a disease that requires chronic disease management and the support of the entire health care community.

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Photo: Susan Ford Bales with the CKF executive team.

From left: Interim Executive Director Jessica Eckels, Susan Ford Bales, Chief Clinical and Compliance Officer Kim Spencer,  VP of Medical Integration Michaela Loxterman, Vice President of Operations Shane Perret