As autumn embraces us, we turn another page in our calendar to October. October is breast cancer awareness. A month filled with pink ribbon’s and marketing galore. Have you ever wondered how the pink ribbon came about? Let’s take a couple steps backwards to understand the history behind the pink ribbon.
According to the Breast cancer action, the story actually begins with a peach ribbon. Charlotte Haley handmade peach ribbons, and to each packet of five she attached a postcard that read:
“ The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes to cancer prevention. Help us wake up legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
Charlotte gave out these ribbons to local supermarkets for free to spread the word. Charlotte was able to catch the attention of Alexandra Penney, the editor in chief of self and Evelyn Lauder, the senior vice president of cosmetic company Estee lauder. These ladies wanted to give Charlotte the opportunity to embrace the potential of her ribbon. Charlotte decided to decline the offer saying they were “too corporate and commercial for her.”
According to the Maurer Foundation, Alexandra and Evelyn teamed up to create a ribbon without Charlotte Haley. This ribbon needed to symbolize strength so they decided to choose pink. They hit the make up counters with these pink ribbons that included a breast self-exam card. The attention of these ribbons expanded and they were able to get more than 200,000 pink ribbon petitions aimed at the White House asking for increased funding aimed at breast cancer research. Since this vital moment in history the pink ribbon has been correlated with breast cancer awareness.
The pink ribbon symbolizes a number of things including strength and hope. As we leap into October, let’s wear the pink ribbons and continue to spread awareness.