Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 28 November 2020

Timeline of pink ribbon campaign

The events that resulted in Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

1991: Members of the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation hand out pink ribbons to participants of the New York City Race for the Cure run.


1992: Charlotte Haley, a breast cancer survivor, hand-makes and distributes loops of peach ribbon at her local grocery store to raise awareness about breast cancer and encourage the National Cancer Institute to spend more on cancer prevention research. Haley is approached by the SELF magazine editor-in-chief Alexandra Penney, who wants to publicise the campaign, but she turns Penney down on the ground that the venture is too commercial.


1992: Penney partners with Evelyn Lauder, the senior corporate vice president of Estée Lauder Companies, to create pink (not peach) ribbons. One-and-a-half million of these ribbons are distributed at Estée Lauder counters across the US, along with “Breast Self-Exam” cards.


1993: Lauder and Penney deliver more than 200,000 Pink Ribbon petitions to the First Lady Hillary Clinton at The White House. President Clinton signs a proclamation declaring October 19 National Mammography Day.

1994: The Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign is launched in 14 different countries. Today, the BCA is active in more than 70 countries worldwide, including the UAE.

1995: The actress and model Elizabeth Hurley becomes a spokesperson for the Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign and continues to hold this position today.

1997: An American by the name of Paul Davidson registers the domain name pinkribbon.com and subsequently launches a website dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness and raising money for breast cancer charities.

2000: The launch of the Global Landmark Illuminations Initiative sees 26 famous landmarks in 22 countries lit up in bright pink lights in a new bid to raise awareness. These included the Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

2001: The Burj Al Arab joined the Global Landmark Illuminations Initiative and along with 200 landmarks in 40 countries is bathed in pink light, to mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

2002: The term “pink washing” is coined, in reference to businesses that use the pink ribbon in their campaigns but either fail to donate proceeds, are not transparent about where the funds go or link the pink ribbon to products that may cause cancer.

2005: The BCA Campaign estimates that it has distributed more than 60 million pink ribbons internationally since the movement began.

2006: Samantha King’s Pink Ribbons Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy is published, highlighting a discordance between the reality of the disease and public perception of it and challenging the commercialisation of the movement. It will later be made into a documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc.

2011: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) estimates that it has raised more than US$315 million (Dh1.2bn) since 1993. On November 12, the BCA and BCRF founder Lauder dies.


2012: The New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declares October 1 “The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign Day” in honour of Lauder.


Updated: October 22, 2012 04:00 AM

Editor's Picks
Sign up to our daily email