Susan Ford Bales Profile

  • Only daughter of Former President Gerald Ford and Betty Ford, one of the most beloved first ladies in U.S. history.

  • One of the nation's most admired and respected advocates of breast cancer and drug addiction awareness.

  • She has dedicated over 3 decades to breaking down the stigma of substance abuse and other diseases and empowering those inflicted and their loved ones to get the help they need.
  • One of the country’s most beloved advocates on dealing with breast cancer and drug addiction, Susan Ford Bales has touched thousands with her compassion, empathy, and courage to open up on highly personal and difficult topics that affect so many people worldwide. The daughter of Former President Gerald Ford, her family has navigated breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and drug addiction all while in the public eye.

    Susan has dedicated three decades to removing the shame and stigma from addiction and illness by raising awareness and helping people find the strength they need to battle serious problems or support a close friend or family member dealing with life-rattling illnesses. She has worked tirelessly to maintain the legacy of her father and mother, Betty Ford, one of the most admired first ladies in U.S. history who was respected across party lines for the humanity she brought to controversial issues and common inflictions as she generously shared her own experiences with them.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Susan Ford Bales, the daughter of former President Gerald R. Ford and Mrs. Betty Ford, has spent most of her life in the public eye. Her adolescence was spent in the White House during one of the most turbulent times in American history, and she has spoken throughout the country about her experiences during those years. She is also a widely recognized speaker on substance abuse and an advocate for breast cancer awareness.

      Since assisting her mother as spokesperson for the renowned Betty Ford Center, Bales addresses the impact of substance abuse on the family. She experienced firsthand the effects of the problem during her mother’s successful battle against alcohol and addiction to painkillers. She also witnessed her mother’s private war against breast cancer and has since become one of the nation’s most visible advocates for breast cancer awareness. As a high-risk candidate herself, Bales emphasizes the importance of early detection in her numerous speeches to medical organizations, women’s groups, and hospitals.

      A professional photographer who studied with Ansel Adams, Bales has recently taken a different position in the public eye. As a lover of crime fiction, she used her knowledge of the inner workings of the White House to co-author a mystery novel entitled Double Exposure. Her second mystery, Sharp Focus, was recently released. Both books are filled with fascinating details about living in the most famous house in the country, providing both an entertaining puzzle and a lesson in American history.

      Susan has received numerous awards including the National Betty Ford Award from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She has addressed the Women’s Federation for World Peace in 1997 in Japan and in 1999 in Korea.

    Susan Ford Bales Speaking Videos

    Bring Susan Ford Bales to Speak Live at Your Event


    Check Speaker Availability

    Susan Ford Bales's Speech Descriptions

    Susan Ford Bales delivers powerful messages through personal stories on addiction, cancer, and wellness. The 38th President’s only daughter does not shy away from the realities of dealing with heavy topics; rather she bravely admits her regrets along with the emotional turmoil her family and so many others go through when dealing with challenging conditions that affect humanity across the board. Most importantly though, Susan leaves audiences hopeful with the knowledge they can take action in tough times and come out of difficult circumstances as stronger and better people.

    A Daughter's Story: Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer
    As a teenager in the White House, Susan was thrust into the spotlight when her mother developed breast cancer and she had to assume many of her mother's duties. As First Lady, Betty Ford was one of the first women to publicly talk about her cancer, a subject that up until that time had not been discussed in public. Susan shares her stories of how her mother inspired her and how she became an advocate for breast cancer awareness and a spokesperson for the cause, a role she held for over ten years. She also discusses the stark reality of her susceptibility to the disease and the assertive approach she takes on prevention strategies.

    Substance Abuse: A Family's Intervention
    Susan speaks honestly and emotionally on the struggles of substance abuse, how it effects families, and how to intervene for loved one's.

    An Intimate Look at Life in the White House
    Susan shares on being a teenager in the White House, being thrust into the spotlight when her mother developed breast cancer and how she had to assume many of her mother's duties.

    Suffering Cardiac Arrest: My Story
    Susan Ford Bales had no idea that she had heart disease, and in 2010, she was surprised when she went into sudden cardiac arrest while exercising on an elliptical machine. After being revived by an electronic defibrillator, Bales received a heart stent and pacemaker. She was one of the lucky ones. She shares her own and her family's experiences with heart disease.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Susan Speak

    Rating Entries

    “You took Baton Rouge by storm and made a HUGE difference. We more than doubled our fundraising dollars.”
    – Obrien House, Baton Rouge, LA

    “Her talk was so powerful and well received.”
    – The Drug Council of Mobile, Alabama

    “Her presentation was very educational and her personal experience with her mother was particularly moving.”
    – Ireland Cancer Center

    “Susan Ford was the best speaker we’ve had. She was so REAL. Her authenticity, emotion and sincerity were touching and refreshing. Susan is so brave to share such a personal story of love, pain, hope and forgiveness. It was good to hear from a family member. I forgot how brave Betty Ford was to bring both breast cancer and addiction out in the daylight for all to hear about.”
    – Cumberland Heights Foundation

    “Susan Ford Bales delivers a message about cancer that is at once powerful and tender. Her family’s extraordinary candor and courage during a time when cancer was rarely openly discussed inspire hope, as does her intimate and historical perspective. Susan offers camaraderie and a voice of strength as she calls upon us all to both take action and take the fear out of cancer. A seasoned, articulate, and passionate speaker, Susan shares a poignant story and a priceless glimpse into a definitive chapter in cancer advocacy.”
    – The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation

    Have You Seen this Speaker? Leave a Star Rating.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Books by Susan Ford Bales:

    Double Exposure

    Double Exposure is the first installment in a delightful new mystery series by Susan Ford, daughter of former President Gerald Ford. It features Eve Cooper, daughter of a newly-elected President, who must balance sleuthing with her first daughter duties, which include keeping an eye on her younger brother and working toward a career in photojournalism.

    Susan Ford’s First Daughter mysteries add a young, contemporary voice to the rich vein of presidential fiction. A fresh addition to a popular genre, First Daughter could well become the bestselling successor to Margaret Truman.

    Sharp Focus

    Eve Cooper takes a glider ride at the Air Force Academy. Shortly thereafter, the same glider is involved in a fatal crash. Just a coincidence, or did someone try to sabotage the plane? Is a killer stalking the President’s daughter? Or is the real target her dad? A vivid you-are-there feeling adds extra sparkle to this fast-paced and witty puzzler.

    Related Speakers


    Need help filling the seats at your next meeting / event?

    Call us / email us / check availability and fee for your favorite speaker.

    Get in touch
    Call us: (760) 656-8770
    Toll free in the US: (877) 717-5327