Origins of the Pink Ribbon

In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. At the same time, Evelyn Lauder, who was the senior corporate vice president of Estee Lauder and Penny Alexandra who was an editor of the woman health magazine Self, came up with an idea to create a ribbon that the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder would distribute it in stores in New York City. Evelyn Lauder then promised to spread the ribbons in the entire country, but a color for the ribbon was not yet decided.
Meanwhile, Ms. Charlotte Hayley, who was battling breast cancer had produced peach color ribbons. She sold them with a card saying, “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is 1.8 billion US Dollars, and only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon”. Her message spread fast.

This made Penny and Evelyn Lauder very interested in Hayley’s concept. They saw the initiative and reason to adapt to Hayley’s idea by working with her.

The new color of the ribbon was pink and became an international symbol for breast cancer awareness