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Annual Hospice Gala to Feature Son of President Gerald Ford


Steve Ford, son of the late President Gerald R. and First Lady Betty Ford, will be the keynote speaker at the third annual Memorial Medical Center Foundation Hospice Gala on Saturday, April 12, at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield.

Both of Ford’s parents received hospice care prior to their deaths. His presentation is titled “Writing the Vision/Script for Your Life with Character.”

“Steve will make us laugh through stories of his family’s time in the White House but also connect with us on a personal level with a true understanding of the hospice journey and encourage us all to find the greater purpose to give of ourselves and make a difference,” said Elena Kezelis, executive director of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

Tickets are now on sale for the Hospice Gala, which raises funds for the Sharing Wishes Fund. The 2-year-old fund has helped fulfill the wishes of dozens of hospice patients in central Illinois.

Ford has more than 25 years of experience as a professional actor, appearing in more than 800 hours of film and television productions. His film credits include “Blackhawk Down,” “Contact” with Jodie Foster, “Armageddon” with Bruce Willis, “Starship Troopers,” “Heat” with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro and “When Harry Met Sally” as Meg Ryan’s boyfriend.

His television credits include guest leads in “Suddenly Susan,” “J.A.G.,” “Dark Skies,” “Flipper,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Baywatch,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “The Cape,” “Pensacola,” “The Sentinel,” “Columbo,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Happy Days.”

Early in Ford’s career, he spent six years playing Andy Richards on the Emmy Award winning daytime show “The Young and the Restless.”

The deadline to buy tickets is Wednesday, April 2. A silent auction and cash bar will open at 5 p.m. A welcome and dinner will begin at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets are $85 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at (217) 788-4700.