The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation will host former first lady Rosalynn Carter as she visits Grand Rapids on April 8 to participate in a luncheon program, America’s First Ladies: A Journey of Friendship, commemorating former first lady Betty Ford’s 96th birthday. Following the luncheon, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and Museum will host a panel discussion titled Betty Ford’s Legacy in Women’s Health, which is sponsored by Spectrum Health.

Steven Ford will lead the conversation with Mrs. Carter during the luncheon program, which will begin at noon in the JW Marriott’s International Ballroom. The cost to attend the luncheon is $35.

Beginning at 2 p.m., a free panel discussion will be held in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum auditorium. The discussion will give insights into Betty Ford’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and how it changed the conversation about women’s health. The panel will also discuss the advancements in breast cancer treatment since that time. Panelists will include:

• Dr. Judy Smith, oncology department chief, Spectrum Health
• Dr. Thomas Getz, medical director, Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services
• Gleaves Whitney, director, Grand Valley State University Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies

Individuals interested in attending America’s First Ladies: A Journey of Friendship can purchase tickets to the luncheon and/or to register for the panel discussions by contacting the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation at 616-254-0396 or online at

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