Breast Cancer Awareness Through Conversation (and Umbrellas)


Spectrum Health will host special events atDeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, in Ballroom A and Ah-Nab-Awen Park to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Susan Ford Bales, daughter of the late Betty Ford and President Gerald R. Ford, will be the special guest at two free, public events on Monday, October 14:

Candid Conversations on Breast Cancer

A seminar from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Devos Place examine the role genetics plays in breast cancer and how genetic counseling or testing might help women – and men – make decisions regarding next steps. Experts from Spectrum Health will also talk about the latest in breast screening options such as tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, and risk-reducing opportunities through lifestyle or surgery.

Susan Ford Bales

Speakers include:

  • Susan Ford Bales
  • Judy Smith, MD, Department Chief of Oncology, Spectrum Health
  • Judy Hiemenga, MD, Spectrum Health Cancer Genetics Program
  • Thomas Getz, MD, Medical Director, Betty Ford Breast Care Services
  • Marianne Melnik, MD, FACS, Co-Director, Spectrum Health Breast Care Program

This event is free of charge, but space is limited so preregistration is required.

Ribbon of Hope

Just like an umbrella provides protection from the elements, Spectrum Health’s Betty Ford Breast Care Services can provide shelter from the threat of cancer. After the seminar, Susan Ford Bales and an honorary host committee invite hundreds of breast cancer awareness supporters to join them in Ah-Nab-Awen Park in front of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Attendees will open pink umbrellas in a “ribbon of hope” to honor Betty Ford’s legacy and everyone who has been touched by breast cancer. The first 5,000 to register to participate in the ribbon will receive a free pink umbrella. Umbrella distribution to registrants starts at 5 p.m., followed by an aerial photo.

Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services honors the legacy of First Lady Betty Ford, who used her platform to speak openly and honestly about her breast cancer diagnosis, inspiring millions of women to take charge of their breast health and get a mammogram. Betty Ford Breast Care Services screens patients at 10 locations in Michigan. The criteria for these sites is highly stringent to ensure that patients receive high-quality screening and diagnostic testing at every location.

For more information or to register for these events, please visit

Special thanks to the honorary host committee for the Betty Ford Breast Care Services events:

Deb Bailey
Stacie Behler
Rosalynn Bliss
Peg Breon
Eva Aguirre Cooper
Chris Gamble
Lou Ann Gaydou
Jane Gietzen
Diane Griffin
Brenda Heacock
Jane Hofmeyer
Donnalee Holton
Deb Hoogendoorn
Sylvia James
Jennifer Jurgens
Ruth Kelly
Randy Kimball
Birgit Klohs
Senita Lenear
Sharon Lettinga
Karen O’Donovan
Joan Secchia
Victoria Upton

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