|How it all Started... By Jennifer Magar|
As Printed in the October 2010 issue
of Rochester Woman Magazine
The movement began during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979,when the wife of a hostage tied yellow ribbons around trees in her front yard. The nightly news explained the ribbons were a symbol of hope for her husband's safe return. Suddenly, yellow ribbons spread acros the country in support of the hostages in Tehran.
When the popularity of the yellow ribbon surged again during the Gulf War, AIDS activists asked, "What about something for our boys dying here at home?" The activist art group Visual AID is credited with changing the yellow ribbon to red - the color of passion - in honor of those living with HIV/AIDS.
By this time, the stage was set for the pink ribbon to emerge. It all started when the Susan G. Komen Foundation began handing out pink visors to more than 8,500 walkers in its Race for the Cure in 1990. The following year, the foundation handed out pink ribbons to all the participants in the New York City race.
While the Susan G. Komen Foundation was the first to distribute the pink ribbon in support of breast cancer, there are other who are believed to be the originator of the pink ribbon. In 1992, Alexandra Penney, the editor-in-chief of Self Magazine, had the idea to pin ribbons to each cover of their second National Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. Realizing it was impractical to pin ribbons to the cover of every issue, she partnered with Evelyn Lauder of Estee Lauder, who had the idea to distribute ribbons at the company's cosmetic counters.
Around the same time, however, 68 year old Charlotte Haley was creating peach ribbons in her dining room. She had a history of breast cancer in her family and she attached a card to the ribbons that read: The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only five percent goes to cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legistlators and America by wearing this ribbon."
Self Magazine contacted Haley asking her to collaborate with them with one stipulation; she had to hand over the concept of the ribbon. Haley refused, fearing the ribbon would become commercialized. And so, they changed the color of the ribbons from peach to pink. Estee Lauder distributed 1.5 million pink ribbons in the fall of 1992 popularizing the ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer and spreading the myth that Evelyn Lauder was the creator of the pink ribbon.
Today, pink is widely recognized for respresenting support for breast cancer. But the pink ribbon has not been without its share of controversy. More and more corporations began endorsing pink products in support of breast cancer, but these products are not always used to put money back into the cause. Some products are meant only to promote "awareness" and do nothing to raise money for cancer research, leaving some to wonder whether these corporations are using pink simply to make a profit.
We wear ribbons to honor survivors and those who are currently fighitn an illness. But they also show support for the friends and relatives who encourage their loved ones during their battles and honor those whose battles were lost. Ribbons show support for the doctors who help those in need and the researchers who work toward a cure. In addition to being a symbol of suppport, ribbons are also a sign of hope. They represent our hope for survival and hope for a cure.
This October, don't just wear a ribbon, take action to support Breast Cancer Awareness.
Information was acquired from PinkRibbon.com (Official Website) International Breast Cancer Awareness and Funding and Komen.org the official site for Susan G. Komen for the Cure