While many people associate the pink ribbon with a variety of sources, it was Evelyn Lauder who, together with Alexandra Penney (SELF Magazine) launched the pink ribbon as an international symbol of breast cancer. The pink ribbon was used widely by the well-known cosmetics company owned and operated by her mother-in-law Estée Lauder.
Evelyn Lauder was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989. Thereafter, she became a tireless advocate for breast cancer while also working in a variety of positions for the cosmetics company, most notably as senior vice president. In addition, in 1993 Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation whose primary goal is funding clinical and translational research for breast cancer. She was also well known for her philanthropy, a role that led to establishing the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Diagnosed in 2007 with ovarian cancer, Evelyn H. Lauder died today at the age of 75, leaving a generous legacy that will continue to enlighten and benefit many people.
Note that credit for the original ribbon, not pink but peach, goes to Charlotte Haley, who created loops of peach ribbon at her kitchen table in 1992 and personally sent them out with cards with this message: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.” She was not interested in selling her idea, and it was Lauder and her team who took the idea, changed the ribbon color to pink and started an international trend.
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© 2004–2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.