Mary Free Bed breaks ground for major project and announces groundbreaking rehabilitation program

Groundbreaking MFB 2013Grand Rapids, Mich. – Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital broke ground today on a $54 Million expansion and renovation project. When completed, space for patients will double, the cost of delivering care will decrease, and patients will have more time with nurses and therapists, which will enhance care.

Mary Free Bed President & CEO Kent Riddle said, “This is a transformative project, enabling us to serve more patients and provide even greater specialized care. It is the lynchpin to our vision of becoming one of the top five rehabilitation hospitals in the country.” Mary Free Bed Guild President Shelley Mishler told those assembled that the Guild is providing the lead gift for the project – $16 million dollars.

During the ceremony, Susan Ford Bales announced the establishment of The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program honoring her mother and grandmother. The daughter of President Gerald and First Lady Betty Ford acknowledged her family ties to Mary Free Bed. Bales’ mother and grandmother were active supporters of the hospital. Betty Bloomer Ford was a founding member of the Junior Guild in 1935. Hortense Neahr Bloomer was Guild President from 1931-1932.

With unprecedented candor about her breast cancer in 1974, First Lady Betty Ford revolutionized how people viewed the disease. The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program is a pioneering step in our community for the new sub-specialty of cancer rehabilitation. This field comprehensively helps patients achieve maximum cognitive, emotional and physical functioning, while improving quality of life for patients and their families.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital – Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, acute-care rehabilitation hospital. For more than 120 years, we have served the needs of children and adults – restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation. The scope of rehabilitation services on the Mary Free Bed campus is not found anywhere else in Michigan: 80 acute-care inpatient beds, extensive outpatient programs and home-based services. The combination of comprehensive services and our exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to achieve outstanding clinical results for patients. For additional information, visit

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