About the ribbons…..
I have been inching my way to getting more into the website/blogging thing. Made the site….then made a habit of adding something to it every day – which I have done by putting a scripture up every morning… now I am going a bit further….ta da! Content!
Thinking about the things I know most about that interest me enough to write about and share – and hopefully that others will also be interested enough to read and respond to – decided to stick to what I know most about. Three things come to mind….and they are all “Cs” – Christianity, Crafts and Cancer. Going to let the scriptures stand on their own for now – they certainly don’t need any explanation – and already serve as a ‘thought for the day.”
I make beaded Cancer Awareness ribbons – and it got me thinking – where did they start? How did the whole ‘colors for a cause’ get moving? And therein I found an interesting story – which I will share what I have gleaned and give you a link back to one of the sources I used for this. Ribbons got their start as symbols with the yellow ribbons around the trees. I remember seeing them – and re-learned that it started with one wife wanting to see a reminder of her hope to see her husband again. He was a hostage in Iran – ugly time that was. A decade later, the ribbon was again used – this time to raise awareness for AIDS – and the ribbon then was red.
In 1991, there was a lady, Charlotte Haley, in Simi Valley, CA who wanted to raise awareness – and to advocate for more research into causes for breast cancer. She made them by hand in her dining room. She attached a set of 5 to a card, and gave them out in her town, trying to get publicity for her cause. She wrote to prominent women, from the first lady to ‘Dear Abby’, trying to get publicity. Interesting note….her ribbon was a peach color, NOT pink. She asked for no money – just that people learn how little money being raised by the National Cancer Institute was actually devoted to prevention – about 5%.
The next year, the magazine “Self” was preparing a magazine spread for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the editor heard about Charlotte and contacted her about her handmade ribbons. Surprisingly, Charlotte declined the offer from Self – saying the magazine was “too commercial”. Imagine that! Not to be stopped, Self magazine consulted lawyers and discovered they could still use a ribbon if they wanted – it just had to be a different color. And so…..they picked pink, and a movement was born. After that magazine hit the streets, the pink ribbon became the symbol, and Charlotte’s peach ribbon and her efforts were largely forgotten. Since that time, the pink ribbon has become a marketing juggernaut, earning millions of dollars from folks thinking they were somehow helping to find a cure for breast cancer. There is a large difference between the ’cause marketing’ and the funding of research. We still have no cure, and the incidence of breast cancer has hardly changed in the years since.
All this to answer my question – how did the colored ribbons start – and the answer is that the organization that is behind the fund raising is the one who usually picks the color for the cause. My own interest in all this is because I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010 – and am now in my fourth bout with it. It was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation that came up with the lime green color. I am so glad to report that I have received help personally with the costs of treatment from this organization, and that a great deal of the money raised DOES go to research and the pursuit of a cure. Might not be as famous as pink, but I am proud to wear my lime green!!