Evelyn Lauder

14 10, 2019

Wearing of the Pink

By |2019-10-05T16:10:38-05:00October 14th, 2019|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

October brings a flood of pink, specifically pink ribbons. Since 1992, the wearing of a pink ribbon has been the international symbol of breast cancer awareness.

Ever wonder where ribbons and symbolism all started?

Penney Laingen, wife of a hostage who’d been taken prisoner in Iran in 1979 started the trend. Inspired by the song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” she tied yellow ribbons around the trees in her front yard to await her husband’s return.

Yellow ribbons were used again to remember soldiers fighting and dying in the Gulf War. AIDS activists piggybacked on that, turned the ribbon red, and sent it on stage Jeremy Irons’ chest for the Tony Awards.

That propelled charitable organizations to begin using colored ribbon campaigns for their causes.

The first ribbon for breast cancer awareness was a peach-colored loop handmade by Charlotte Haley whose granddaughter, sister, and mother had battled breast cancer. She passed out sets of five along with a card that read: “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.”

Evelyn Lauder wanted to enhance upon Haley’s idea. Lauder had her lawyers approach Haley, who refused to relinquish her grassroots, word-of-mouth project. Lauder’s lawyers advised her to come up with a different color and she did.

She traded peach for pink and put pink grosgrain ribbons on cosmetics counters across the country promoting her Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

Pink is playful, life-affirming and studies show it has a calming, quietening effect and lessens stress, according to the Color Association of the United States. It’s perfect to symbolize everything breast cancer is not.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation gave a pink ribbon to runners in its New York City Race in 1991. The origins of the Run for the Cure ribbon is here.

And, so the pink ribbons we wear every October became the icon for awareness and and show moral support for those with breast cancer.

If you’re like me, you have one or more friends or family members who have been affected by breast cancer. I’ll be wearing a pink ribbon this month.

How about you?

7 10, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness and the Women Who Fostered It

By |2019-10-07T07:33:20-05:00October 7th, 2019|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Unless you live under a rock you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it hasn’t always been that way.  Historically breast cancer was a taboo topic. Women with breast cancer didn’t discuss the topic publicly.

It was former First Lady Betty Ford who played a major role in bringing breast cancer out of the shadows when she allowed the press into her hospital room to discuss her diagnosis. Her openness increased the number of women willing to talk about it and, even more important, their open discussions led more women to have breast exams for early detection.

Ford’s actions were a catalyst for the 1985 partnership between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries, producer of anti-breast cancer drugs, to designate October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).

Two other women also shared a major role in increasing public awareness.

  1. When Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Companies, received a breast cancer diagnosis, she made breast cancer awareness an Estee Lauder brand staple. Her companies continue to do so today through her Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
  2. In 2013, Angelina Jolie publicly shared her decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene. That catapulted BRCA gene mutation into the spotlight and encouraged research funding for genetic cancer.

These three women were forerunners in changing the prevailing attitude. These days we are keenly aware of breast cancer, but are the millions of marketing and advertising dollars spent to raise funds for awareness missing the mark?

Yes according to Paige More, a woman personally affected by breast cancer and co-founder of The Breasties.

She suggests money spent on awareness marketing efforts and advertising materials might be more beneficial if directed to a nonprofit, a hospital, or breast cancer research.

Statistics from The American Cancer Society estimate there will be 271,270 new cases of breast cancer in 2019, 99% of which will be diagnosed in women.

We still don’t have a cure . More research might fix that. Maybe Paige More is right, more funds should be divert to research and not so much to awareness.

What do you think?