Where Did the Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer Come From?

Where Did the Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer Come From?

It's Pinktober people & I'm sure you're seeing pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness campaigns everywhere! It's no different here at Revive Jewelry where I'm using this month to help spread awareness, encourage early detection and education for young women. Plus, you're helping us raise money every day for breast cancer research by purchasing our jewelry.

But where did the whole pink for breast cancer thing come from? I was just wondering this the other day, so I did some research. Turns out the story is a little more interesting than I realized. I always figured it was because pink is a girlie color, and that's kind of right, but there's a much more detailed story. Keep reading to find out!

Origin of the ribbon 

origin of the awareness ribbon

So let's go back in time to when a ribbon was first used to signify support for a cause. 

It seems to have started in 1979 when Penney Laingen used a yellow ribbon it to show support for her husband and other soldiers who were taken as prisoners in the Iran hostage crisis. It was her silent show of support for their safe return home. 

Ten years later, the red ribbon was adopted by the AIDS movement and popularized when Jeremy Irons wore one on his lapel to the Tony Awards. This solidified the ribbon as a universal symbol for awareness and support. 

Who started the pink ribbon?

pink awareness ribbon and model wearing pink jewelry for breast cancer

In 1990, a breast cancer survivor Charlotte Haley started handing out her homemade peach ribbons at local grocery stores. Her mother and sister had both also been affected by breast cancer, and Haley wanted to do something about it. She started a grassroots movement by writing letters to lawmakers and handing out her peach ribbons with a card attached that read, "The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

By 1992, word of Haley's efforts had reached the executives at Estée Lauder & Self magazine, who had teamed up for a Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in October of that year. They wanted to use Haley's peach ribbon, but she refused because the companies were too commercial. After consulting with lawyers, Estée Lauder & Self decided to pick a different color for their ribbon.

That's when they settled on the pink color. And why pink? Because the color pink is shown to convey calm, quiet and a health-giving affect; the basic opposite of what breast cancer is. It's also a very feminine color that women really like, according to Estée Lauder.

So before Haley even realized, her peach ribbon was a thing of the past, and corporate America and the press had adopted the pink ribbon as the symbol for breast cancer awareness. But it's not bad news for Haley. These pink ribbons have helped raise tons of money for breast cancer research and it's one of the most recognized and well funded causes today. 

pink for breast cancer awareness model wearing Revive Jewelry that gives back to charity

Do you have to wear a ribbon to show support?

While ribbons are a wonderful & obvious way to show your support for breast cancer, you can also choose to wear pink or take a more subtle approach by wearing Revive Jewelry.

When I make the breast cancer awareness pieces, I use cell images of the disease as the basis of the pendant. So just like the pink color conveys the opposite of what breast cancer is, so does my jewelry. It's intended to make you feel strong and confident, while also creating a meaningful connection.

For every piece you buy, 10% of gross profit is donated to Breast Cancer Research Foundation to fund their research programs. So you can feel good and look good. Click below to see the different pieces we offer!

shop breast cancer research jewelry


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pink breast cancer jewelry gives back to charity

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1 comment

  • Norman Querijero

    My question is “Can you use this as a political color and symbol?”

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