Lynne Cheney in GR to commemorate Betty Ford

Lynne Cheney at a Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation event in Grand Rapids on April 14, 2015.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Lynne Cheney says Betty Ford broke taboos and advanced women’s health when she spoke publicly about her breast cancer.

Cheney and husband Dick Cheney joined Tuesday’s commemoration of the 97th anniversary of Betty Ford’s birth at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation event in Grand Rapids.

“It was all done so naturally. It seemed to come from her inner self and not just a crusade. It’s just what she thought needed to be done. So what a pleasure to be here today to and to honor her,” Lynne Cheney said. “She once said, “You know, anybody can be First Lady. Look, it’s happened; I’m just anybody and I’m here doing it.’ But she wasn’t just anybody. She was a woman of so much character and integrity that I feel very lucky to have her be a model for me and for so many others.”

Lynne Cheney says Betty Ford helped encourage frank discussion of women’s health issues when she spoke openly in 1974 about having a mastectomy for breast cancer and encouraged others to get examinations.

Lynn Cheney says it’s hard to understand today “how shocking it was when a first lady said `breast.”‘

Dick Cheney was Gerald Ford’s chief of staff before becoming vice president.

Betty Ford was born April 8, 1918 and died in 2011. Gerald Ford died in 2006.

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