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Archive for Sunday, January 19, 2003

Former first ladies meet for fund-raiser

January 19, 2003

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— Former first ladies Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse in elegant style.

The rare gathering brought the women and about 600 others who paid up to $5,000 per dinner to benefit the nonprofit center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

"It's a real sisterhood. We love getting together," Mrs. Carter said after posing for pictures with the other first ladies Friday night.

Mrs. Ford checked herself into a treatment facility in 1978 and her candor about her drug dependence is largely credited with helping break the silence for many alcoholics and drug addicts.

The center named for her has since treated more than 56,000 people for various addictions.

The black-tie gala, which was set to raise $1.6 million, featured a who's-who of Hollywood, business and political heavyweights and included videotaped messages from President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

Money raised during the gala will help pay the bills of poor patients.

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