Betty Ford was a remarkable woman who had a profound effect on the American public and the entire world. Its been said that history will say that she had more influence than her husband, President Gerald Ford – the only President of the United States that was not elected President or Vice President. Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s, at this time in our countries history no one ever talked about breast cancer. Betty went public with her diagnosis and treatment. She is responsible for bringing the subject of breast cancer to the national conversation; it was she and her doctors that advised women to get yearly mammograms. This act alone saved countless lives. Betty coming out publicly stating her disease at that time was an extremely courageous decision. She used her suffering to help other women. Betty also was an alcoholic, another topic no one talked about back then. Betty sought treatment and more importantly brought alcoholism out of the closet and took the shame of having the disease away. She bravely sought treatment and encouraged many others to do the same. She opened the Betty Ford Center for people with addictions to go get help. I can’t stress enough, this was all done when no one talked about rehab or would admit to having an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling. Betty Ford was a remarkable woman who used her problems to help others.
Ever since I heard about the death of Whitney Houston I couldn’t stop thinking her life should have a legacy beyond just the music. She entertained, inspired, was loved by all. I know the Houston family is in mourning, they must have been in mourning for over a decade. It seems they tried everything they could to help, but they couldn’t help. What Whitney’s problems were, why she started using drugs, what caused her to want to escape are all issues that are none of our business. I would like to call on the Houston family to take the Betty Ford route. To come out publicly and talk about their experiences with addiction and to have the country take a hard look at itself to see what we can learn from this. Ideally there could be a Whitney Houston Center that could help people overcome their addictions. People need to learn more about the interaction of Xanax, Alcohol, Sleeping Pills – all of this should be part of our national conversation, today. No one wants to see tabloid pics of the last few nights she was alive; but lets not let her death be just part of a news cycle. Clive Davis, I would call on you as well to start the conversation about addiction, to help build a new 21st Century Rehab Center in Whitney’s honor. I would bet if Whitney was alive and sober she would want to have an influence in getting people clean and sober more so than a start in show business.