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The Origins of the Pink Ribbon For Breast Cancer

Updated on March 10, 2014
Pink ribbon image courtesy of Wishuponacupcake on Creative Commons.
Pink ribbon image courtesy of Wishuponacupcake on Creative Commons.

Pink Ribbons

Why do pink ribbons represent breast cancer awareness? It is believed that ribbons, in general, were first used during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, when yellow ribbons were distributed to show support for the hostages. The pink ribbon was chosen as the worldwide symbol of breast cancer and breast cancer awareness because pink is the color of health and represents femininity.

Ribbons were becoming a popular trend in the early nineties during the Gulf War and at the Susan G Komen New York City race for breast cancer survivors, pink ribbons were first handed out.

Image: Janelle Hail, breast cancer survivor
Image: Janelle Hail, breast cancer survivor

Janelle Hail

At the age of thirty-four, Janelle Hail faced breast cancer. When she was diagnosed, Janelle was living a healthy lifestyle and had no family history of breast cancer, but like 200,000 other women, she had to face the cold hard facts of breast cancer.

From her own personal experience with the disease, she turned her vision of a National Breast Cancer Foundation from a dream into a reality. She became an advocate for early detection and went on to become a professional speaker and award winning published author.

Photo courtesy of See Janelle's full story there.

Pink Ribbon with Elizabeth Hurley

Gift basket for breast cancer victims or survivors by All About Gifts & Baskets
Gift basket for breast cancer victims or survivors by All About Gifts & Baskets

Pink Ribbon Memorabilia

Today you can find pink ribbon gifts and many other ribbon-themed items just about everywhere. One of the most popular ways to show your support is to have a magnetized ribbon attached to your car. You have probably seen these hundreds of times. In the center of the ribbon can be the name of a loved one or an organization that you have contributed to.

Other forms of pink ribbon representation include T-shirts, hats, clothing, jewelry, tattoos, pins and even breast cancer awareness gift baskets. Pretty much anything you can think of has been created in a way to offer up homage to this very meaningful cause.

Dressing casual for a cause makes Fridays a special day in corporate America
Dressing casual for a cause makes Fridays a special day in corporate America

Dress Attire

Corporate America has long been a supporter of the pink ribbon for breast cancer. Casual Friday represents a day where employees can dress down and be casual while they work. Casual days are great ways to allow employees to escape the everyday normal requirements of corporate America. Since casual days have become the norm, National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a great opportunity for employees across corporate cultures to use their casual days to raise money to fight breast cancer. It’s a trend called “Casual Up for Breast Cancer.”

On each Friday, the employees make a donation of a dollar or two to the cause and for their donation, they are provided a privilege. They are allowed to dress in casual, more comfortable attire. This can be done anytime of the year, not just in the month of October, which is nationally known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Image source:
Image source:

Pink Ribbon Website

You can go to and check their official website. Here you can find all the facts about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and all the different charities that help fight this vicious disease. You can also find out which celebrities are contributing to the cause, or even a live forum where your voice can be heard.

The site also offers tips on what to do if diagnosed or who to contact for more information. There is even a section of the site that will help with beauty tips. This includes matters like wigs, eyeliners, eyelashes, and makeup. It is a great place for people who want to get involved in the fight and for those who are waging their own war against the horrible disease.

Have you or someone you know been affected by breast cancer?

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    • pinkdaisy profile image

      pinkdaisy 7 years ago from Canada

    • pinkdaisy profile image

      pinkdaisy 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for linking to my hub. I have also featured you on my "Pink Ribbon Products" hub.

      Great Job! :-)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much for this one, Pinkchic. I have included this hub in my links capsule, as well!

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 7 years ago

      Thanks for all the background information on such an important cause!