Posted on March 17, 2022

Supporters raise over $300,000 for Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program

When Kyle Bianco and Linda DeKock talked about their battles with cancer and their hopes for the future, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The Mary Free Bed graduates shared their stories of rehabilitation in a video viewed by more than 600 supporters at the Mary Free Bed Foundation’s annual gala. And supporters responded, helping to raise over $300,000 for the Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program.

The program, named to honor the former First Lady and her groundbreaking cancer efforts, helps patients fight the debilitating effects of the disease and its treatment. Funds raised at the March 12 event will support those efforts.

“Our role in cancer rehabilitation is, not only do we want our patients – our loved ones – to survive, how do we get them to go from surviving to thriving?” said Dr. Meagan Smith, who cared for Kyle. “I want him to be able to see his kids graduate from high school. I want him to be there if his daughter decides to get married and be able to walk her down the aisle. That’s surviving cancer, but then thriving.”

Kyle, a L’anse resident who was diagnosed with a tumor in his lung and faced related complications, came to Mary Free Bed for inpatient rehabilitation. Linda, of Grand Rapids, participated in the outpatient program after chemotherapy for her breast cancer diagnosis caused neuropathy and some leg paralysis.

“I know I wouldn’t have my life back if it weren’t for their help,” Linda said.

To learn more about the program, visit

Watch the video about Kyle and Linda here: