In 1991, Evelyn H. Lauder, the president and founder of the
Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Alexandra Penney, the
editor of Self Magazine at that time, got together and conceived
of using a pink ribbon as the symbol for breast cancer awareness.
They also felt the breast cancer pink ribbon should also stand
for the unity of women in surviving and conquering the disease.
Since that time, the pink ribbon has come to mean many things
to many different people. For the person in the midst of breast
cancer treatment, it can be a symbol of hope. For others,
it can be a sign of survival and love. To the people who have
lost a loved one to the disease, the breast cancer pink ribbon
can be a memorial to that person. It can also mean support
for research in finding a cure for breast cancer. Every October,
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people wear the breast cancer
pink ribbon as a visible sign for promotion of awareness.
The pink ribbon has had such an impact that countries all
over the world have adopted it and are using it to express
unity with women globally who may be suffering with the disease.
Their efforts are aimed at providing knowledge about early
detection of breast cancer and research for a cure. Breast
cancer seems to be on the rise in other countries in addition
to the U.S., so the breast cancer pink ribbon is part of a
positive movement for all women throughout the world.
Interestingly, the pink ribbon is not always made out of
fabric anymore. It has become such a well-known and optimistic
symbol that it is seen as magnets, stained glass hangings,
ceramics, jewelry, and incorporated into artwork. The largest
breast cancer pink ribbon was recently made out of pink Post-it
Super Sticky Notes on a billboard in Times Square to support
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Learn how to make your own pink ribbon:
Make a Pink Ribbon
Janet Brown is a medical writer
and graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. Her personal
experiences with breast cancer have drawn her to her current
work developing breast cancer patient education and awareness
materials. She currently lives in Georgia.