Susan Ford Bales was born on July 6, 1957 in Washington, DC. She was raised in Alexandria, VA and graduated from Holton Arms School in Bethesda, MD.
Susan attended Mount Vernon College, Washington, DC and she studied photojournalism at the University of Kansas, along side Ansel Adams.
She married Chuck Vance on July 25, 1979 and they they have two children, Tyne and Heather. Later susan married Vaden Bales on July 25, 1989 and they live together in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has three sons, Kevin, Matthew and Andrew.
In 1986 Susan began work raising awareness of breast cancer issues and has been a national spokesman for 16 years.
An avid mystery novel fan, Susan co-authored two mystery novels: Double Exposure and Sharp Focus
Susan was elected to the Betty Ford Center Board of Directors in 1992. She has served as Chairman of the Finance Committee since 1998, and became the BFC Board Chairman in January 2005.