U.S. Postal Service to Hold First-Day-of-Issue Event for Betty Ford Stamp

Stamp's 2024 release coincides with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's 75th anniversary year
Learn About Hazelden Betty Ford

Rancho Mirage, Calif. (March 7, 2024) – An estimated 18 million U.S. postage stamps featuring a portrait of former First Lady Betty Ford will be released following a "first-day-of-issue" dedication ceremony to be held by the U.S. Postal Service in collaboration with the Betty Ford Center on Friday, April 5, at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, Calif. 

Betty Ford Forever Stamp 2024 The new Betty Ford Commemorative Forever® Stamp honors the former First Lady of the United States, whose impactful life included culture-changing advocacy for addiction recovery and breast cancer awareness as well as equal rights for women. The stamp was unveiled on March 6 in the East Room of the White House, where First Lady Jill Biden praised Mrs. Ford for her courage, candor and public service. 

"Mrs. Ford's extraordinary story is a lesson in the beautiful and sometimes cruel unpredictability of this life, and our capacity for redemption. Her journey reminds us that we are not defined by our worst moments, but rather by our ability to turn life's inevitable pain and struggle into purpose and salvation," Dr. Biden said. "Heroism is not perfection, Betty taught us. It's resilience. But most of all, Betty gave us hope. Hope that tomorrow is a brighter day. Hope that this too will pass. Hope that even in the depths of despair, the human will is limitless. As many at the Betty Ford Center would say: ‘ If Betty can do it, I can do it.'"

"Mom would be humbled and grateful beyond words for the extraordinary tribute of her commemorative stamp. To Mom, the stamp would be a heartwarming reminder of the joys of millions of breast cancer and substance use disorder survivors who have overcome their diseases and individually added to her legacy of candor," said Mrs. Ford's daughter, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Trustee Susan Ford Bales, who joined Dr. Biden in speaking at the White House unveiling, along with U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; and Hazelden Betty Ford President and CEO Joseph Lee, MD.

The April 5 dedication ceremony is open to the public (RSVP at usps.com/bettyfordstamp). It will take place at 11 a.m. PT in the Helene Galen Auditorium, located in the Annenberg Health Sciences Building at Eisenhower Health. Eisenhower and the Betty Ford Center, co-founded by Mrs. Ford in 1982, have been neighbors and collaborators for more than four decades. 

"Betty Ford is beloved across the world as a person who represents the power of authenticity and the hope and reality of healing and recovery," Dr. Lee said. "This beautiful new stamp not only honors her legacy but sends an optimistic message to the nation that we can overcome difficult challenges individually and collectively in our families and communities. In this 75th anniversary year of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, it is a tremendous honor to continue serving millions of people in Mrs. Ford's name and to be part of recognizing her ongoing impact and enduring spirit through the issuance of the new stamp."    

"Betty Ford's name is synonymous with recovery — both from breast cancer and addiction. Her perseverance and transparency inspired millions," added Eisenhower Health President and CEO Martin Massiello. "Eisenhower Health is proud to work alongside the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for our health system's Addiction Medicine fellowship program, and proud to host the April 5 dedication ceremony."

Bales and Dr. Lee will speak at the April 5 dedication ceremony, as will the Honorable Amber F. McReynolds, vice chair of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. The Postal Service will be on-site selling the stamps and cancelling them to mark the date, something especially valued by collectors. Stamp-related merchandise will also be for sale, and some program participants will be available to sign programs, stamp cancellations and merchandise. Sales will begin at 10 a.m. PT and end at 1 p.m., with the formal dedication ceremony at 11 a.m.

"Betty Ford changed the role of being a First Lady," said Postmaster General DeJoy. "She used the role not just as a platform to represent the nation and advance and support her husband – President Gerald Ford – she used the role of First Lady to speak openly and honestly about issues she cared about, and about personal issues she faced."

Mrs. Ford will join other First Ladies who have appeared on U.S. stamps, including Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolly Madison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson, and Nancy Reagan. President Gerald Ford was honored with a stamp of his own in 2007. The Postal Service has also issued stamps related to the prevention (in 1971 and 2020) and treatment (1981) of addiction, but never recovery. So, while Mrs. Ford's legacy goes beyond her influential recovery advocacy, many will celebrate her stamp as the nation's first "recovery stamp." The date is also meaningful, as it's in proximity to Mrs. Ford's April 7 sobriety anniversary and April 8 birthday as well as the 75th anniversary of Hazelden Betty Ford's first patient in Minnesota (April 21, 1949).  

"Betty Ford's spirit is alive and well at the Betty Ford Center, throughout the Hazelden Betty Ford network, and in the lives of countless individuals and families impacted by her advocacy," said Tessa Voss, vice president of Hazelden Betty Ford's California Region and administrator of the Betty Ford Center. "Decades after Mrs. Ford first publicly shared her experience with addiction and recovery, her story is still opening doors for others to seek help, and this new stamp will help open even more."

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.