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Awareness Ribbons, and their Meanings

Updated on February 3, 2013

Ribbons of different colors are seen everywhere, and they are adopted by many organizations to keep the message clear.

The use of these short pieces of colored strips is to draw awareness to health issues, and to make a statement of support for a cause or an issue.

How did the Awareness Ribbon era start?

Awareness ribbons have a long history that begins in recognition of a soldier in the 1970s. Prayers and thoughts were going out for the troops in the United States, and the yellow ribbon was a symbol associated for their welfare and their safe return. This idea took a turn for the positive and since then had been continued on into the 1990s when the United States was in the midst of the Gulf war.

AIDS epidemic came around the 1992 and awareness ribbon was still a favorite; thus, the activists adopted the power of awareness ribbons and introduced the Red Ribbon to signify passion to find a cure for this deadly disease. Same year, pink ribbons were introduced to bring awareness and support for breast cancer cause.

1992 was a momentous year where various ribbons were associated with diseases and the New York Times called it, “The Year of the Ribbon”

As the years rolled by, Ribbons gained popularity and ribbon related merchandise such as label pins, stickers, T-shirts, bracelets, key chains were sold all around to generate awareness. Ribbons are also used to create posters, brochures and promotional campaigns to create knowledge of that particular disease or cause.

Now, Awareness ribbons have evolved in a new dimension and are creating powerful testimony of the cause and also make a fashion statement when worn as a pin.

Color of Ribbon
Diseases associated
Lavender Ribbon
General Cancer Awareness, Epilepsy Awareness
White Ribbon
Bone Cancer, Retinoblastoma
Pearl Ribbon
Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, Multiple Sclerosis
Black Ribbon
Gold Ribbon
Childhood Cancer,
Lace Ribbon
Grey Ribbon
Diabetes, Asthma, Brain Cancer
Silver Ribbon
Parkinson Disease, Brain disorders, Ovarian cancer awareness, Gynaecological Cancer awareness
Blue Ribbon
Prostate Cancer
Pink Ribbon
Breast Cancer
Purple Ribbon
Pancreatic Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Fibromylagia, Alzheimer's Disease
Red Ribbon
AIDS, HIV, Heart Disease
Orange Ribbon
Green Ribbon
Kidney Cancer
Yellow Ribbon
Bladder Cancer
Blue Jeans Denim Ribbon
Genetic Disorder
Lime Ribbon
Non Hodgkin Lymphoma
Jade Ribbon
Liver Cancer, Hepatitis B
Zebra print Ribbon
Rare Disease, Neuroendocrine Tumor
Red And Blue Ribbon
Pulmonary Fibrosis
Burgandy and Ivory Ribbon
Head and Neck Cancer
Purple and Blue Striped Ribbon
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
Two Tone Blue and Purple Ribbon
Rheumatoid Arthritis


Awareness is usually defined as a human’s perception to a condition or an event.

It is a state of mind where one is conscious of objects or patterns around them without implying the understanding. It is a relative concept, and it brings in efforts to describe consciousness in the brain that develops awareness of the Qualia developed by other networks.

Awareness of ribbons and their respective colors has helped mankind to strive for a particular disease by either taking prevention steps or helping to raise funds for its' research.

This is a straightforward and elite way of being productive and enlightening our society.

Be aware of the patterns and the suffering around you, and wear a ribbon that is close to your heart.


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    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks Rajan and Om

      I also learnt a lot while researching out this hub.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks Joy56

      thank you thewritingowl

      thanks Audrey

      Thanks Susan.

      thanks Denise

      thanks Lesley aka moviemaster

      Thanks missolive

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 4 years ago

      enjoyed that so much

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 4 years ago from Ireland

      In Ireland a Blue ribbon stands for Autism Awareness. Awareness is always a good thing obviously but unfortunately sometimes it can be used as a banner to raise funds that do not always go to help those they claim to speak for. Like us autistic people here in Ireland. I would be very interested to know if this is ever the case in Canada too? Good article and voted up.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Thank you Ruchira!! Great info!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Like many others I didn't know many of these ribbons or did I know that there were so many.

      Great Job!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Ruchira-a beautiful hub that is so important for others to understand. My daughters have participated in the Breast Cancer awareness campout each April, and one year my grandkids made bracelets that matched the ribbons as a fund raiser. UP/U/B/I and sharing.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      A very interesting hub Ruchira, I wasn't aware of what they meant or how many there are.

      Thank you, voted up

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      Hi Ruchira! Thank you for putting this hub together, this will be a great resource for many. Very informative and useful.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Ruchira, I was not aware of these awareness ribbons at all. Thanks for sharing this useful info. I think it is a great idea.

      voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      Very interesting. I knew only a few and had no idea there were this many types of awareness ribbons! The pink ribbon for breast cancer, I guess, is the one I've seen most often.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks Melovy and Dianna. Yes, this was an eye opener to me too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I have seen a variety of ribbon colors popping up and now I know what some of them mean. Thank you for this very helpful hub.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      I didn't realise there were so many different ribbons to wear, breast cancer is the one I see most often. Reading about the history was interesting too, thanks.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you Ruby.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I was totally unaware of this. Very interesting and useful. Thank you Ruchira..

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks Bill, Mhatter99, Frank, Lipnancy.

      Yes, I was also in the dark until I researched and found so many ribbons actually existed.

      I have also added the history of how this ribbon thing started.

      Amazing how we humans have used a piece of thread to spread awareness :)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I had no idea that there were so many colors being used for this.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      you see I learn something new.. I had no idea what some of the colors stood for :) and I thought yellow was for Love as In Tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree if you still want me.. :( thank Ruch

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I didn't know this either. Thank you for this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I didn't know most of these, Ruchira! Thanks for educating me; this was very helpful.