We’ve all seen them in oncology offices. Cancer ribbons pinned to a doctor’s crisp white lab coat in honor of a cause or a patient. You wonder what meaning that particular orange ribbon has and why the medical staff is also wearing one. It’s often a silent acknowledgement of a patient’s struggle or a victory. Or an awareness month.
If you or a loved-one has cancer, chances are you’re familiar with the ribbons associated with its many forms. “>Pink ribbons for breast cancer is universal. These ribbons help to raise funds for research and remind the community about breast cancer awareness month. Now, other cancers, have taken up the cause with other colors to raise awareness for their cancer cause. Many campaigns increase awareness of early detection, which has often saved lives.
It Started With a Yellow Ribbon
Cancer ribbons have become so common that almost every color has a corresponding cancer ribbon. Some even have multiple ribbon colors, depending on the type. Some colors represent more than one form of the disease. Others correspond to an organization or foundation behind the research or awareness month. It’s interesting to look at awareness ribbons and reflect on the days when they were new to the entire world, let alone the medical community.
We often think that pink ribbon started it all, but it was the yellow ribbon tied around trees in the early 1970’s that brought awareness ribbons to the forefront. In April 1973, the song “Tie A Yellow Ribbon,” a recording by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, reached the number one spot in the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed at number one for four weeks. “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” sold three-million records in the United States in less than a month.
Tie A Yellow Ribbon
In these years, Tony and Dawn collided with Watergate, an unlikely match. Inspired by the song, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon,” Gail Magruder decorated her front porch to celebrate her husband’s return from prison. Her husband, Jeb Stuart Magruder, helped Nixon cover up the Watergate break-in in 1972. She used the yellow ribbon as a symbol of hope for her husband’s return. News cameras captured the scene of his homecoming in 1975, with a garland of yellow ribbons awaiting his arrival.
FLAG (Family Liaison Action Group)
Then, Penne Laingen, whose husband Bruce Laingen, a diplomat in the US Foreign Service taken hostage in Tehran in 1980, tied a yellow ribbon around an oak tree in her front yard. This yellow ribbon highlighted the plight of the fifty-two Americans taken hostage at the US embassy in Iran. She told the Washington Post, “So I’m standing and waiting and praying, and one of these days Bruce is going to untie that yellow ribbon. It’s going to be out there until he does.” Families of the hostages formed an organization called FLAG (Family Liaison Action Group) to keep pressure and continued focus on the crisis.
FLAG chose the yellow ribbon as it’s campaign symbol. The organization distributed 10,000 yellow ribbon pins to prominent Americans throughout the country. After watching TV weather reporters wear the emblem for 444 days, the yellow ribbon became an iconic symbol of hope to those in harm’s way who were far away from home.
The Red AIDS Ribbon
From there, the AIDS ribbon took the world by storm. Taking a cue from the yellow ribbon, the red ribbon brought awareness to AIDS. In 1991, a group of artists banded together to create a meaningful symbol at the height of the AIDS crisis. The red ribbon showed support and compassion for those with AIDS and their caregivers.
To bring world attention to AIDS, Visual AIDS partnered with Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS in June 1991. The organizations adorned guests and presenters at the 45th annual Tony Awards. The Tony Awards were chosen to communicate the extent that this epidemic was affecting members of its own community, including artists and performers. One of the first presenters to wear the iconic symbol was Jeremy Irons. From that point, the red ribbon was quickly adopted as an international symbol of AIDS awareness. To raise awareness for AIDS, it has been worn for decades by celebrities, musicians, athletes, artists, and politicians alike.
The History of Pink Breast Cancer Ribbons
Cancer ribbons, as the story goes, started with the peach ribbon for breast cancer, not the pink ribbon. What started as a modest movement in 1991 with Charlotte Haley handing out peach ribbons at her local grocery store and doctors’ offices to highlight the need for funding for breast cancer prevention, eventually became the pink breast cancer ribbon.
Self Magazine and the Pink Ribbon for Breast Cancer
In 1992, the Editor of Self Magazine, Alexandra Penney, asked Haley if she could use her peach awareness ribbon in an issue about Breast Awareness Month. Haley refused, saying her idea was too corporate. Penney replaced the peach ribbon with a pink ribbon and handed out the pink ribbons at cosmetic counters in New York City. She did this to call attention to the issue of breast cancer funding.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, now known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, began handing out pink visors for participants in its Race for the Cure in 1990. The color pink already had a breast cancer affiliation. Komen’s mission and visual recognition is a result of that initial peach ribbon. The Komen Foundation’s goals have evolved over the past thirty years, as has Komen’s ribbn. Now, Komen’s stylized and trademarked pink ribbon is seen on clothing, food packaging, and everything in between. This is especially true during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Some see the pink ribbon as overplayed and at times there has been a backlash to it. While there is a pink ribbon on a plethora of products during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s recognition has brought funding to critical breast cancer research.
Awareness Colors, Causes and Cancer Ribbons Gain Popularity
Awareness ribbons and awareness colors converged, and by the late 1990’s, the idea of raising awareness through colored ribbons took off. At Personalized Cause, created in the year 2001, we have seen awareness ribbons take on multiple meanings. We have worked with many. We supply ribbons to corporations, the PGA tour, firefighter funerals, murdered children legislation functions in Washington, suicide prevention in schools and colleges, and a host of many other events. The purpose of the ribbon has changed over the years from cancer as the primary cause to social issues that mean to much to so many.
Everyone Has a Cause That Hits Home
At Personalized Cause, we have worked diligently to meet the needs of the world community. For example, 2e received a telephone call from a woman in the early 2000’s who asked us to produce a specific ribbon for her cause. It was the black and blue ribbon to remember her son. Black for loss and blue for her son. It had very special and significant meaning to her and to us. We then made the black and pink ribbon pin in the same way for the loss of a female. This ribbon was unique to our site.
We now see this cause listed, among many others, everywhere. At Personalized Cause, we believe it is important to help others, do research on cause meanings, and find a reason for creating a unique pin. It is important to remember that behind each ribbon is a person with a story to tell. It is our goal to help others tell their stories without saying a word.
Our Unique Ribbon – Personalized and Personal
Based on this belief, in 2001, Personalized Cause created the only awareness ribbon pin that can be individually engraved with a name, date, or message. Therefore, each of our personalized awareness pins call attention to the notion that behind every pin is a person with a story to tell. We hope that by showing the very personal nature of a cause or disease ribbon, people will respond with awareness and compassion. Sometimes a pin is worn for a loved one. Sometimes, it supports an entire community. Other times, it’s about education. Still more often, pins helps to increase funding. Whatever the reason, awareness is key. It is now and has been since the first yellow ribbon symbols were used in the 1970’s.
Personalized Cause and Its Cancer Ribbons and Awareness Pins
In addition to personalized awareness ribbon pins, Personalized Cause offers non-personalized pins in a multitude of colors and KNOW MORE awareness wristbands that are a play on words: NO MORE and KNOW MORE. Know more so that there is no more. Fabric awareness ribbons are also a core component of our offerings, and we offer both personalized and non-personalized versions.
Each of our products has a personalized and non-personalized option available, one to support a cause, in general, and a second to show the very personal nature of each disease or cause that our products represent.
For the medical community, and to help raise awareness, we offer our products in bulk to help support awareness campaigns and engage the local community. Please give us a call to see how we can help you. On our site, we have a calendar of awareness months, as well as an awareness cause and color reference guide.