Evelyn Lauder, co-founder of the Estée Lauder cosmetic company and creator of the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer, died in New York City on Saturday at the age of 75.
Breast cancer is the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths, right behind skin cancer. And according to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, breast cancer comprises 22.9 percent of all cancers. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 2.5 million breast cancer survivors live in the US.
The pink ribbon is an image that is synonymous with the national effort to support those afflicted with the disease and help find a cure. It’s incredible that such a small token has managed to garner so much support for the cause.
First used in 1991 by the Susan G. Komen Foundation as a handout for a breast cancer awareness race in New York City, it was adopted as a symbol for the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the following year, quickly becoming a powerful sign of moral support for anti-breast cancer efforts. Inspired by the red ribbons used for AIDS awareness, the color pink and the image of the ribbon have become well-known throughout society, bringing breast cancer to the attention of millions of people around the world.
With the help of a unifying symbol, breast cancer efforts have gained significant momentum in recent years. Since 1994, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has raised nearly $67 million for research and awareness promotion.
By creating the pink ribbon, Lauder established a symbol acknowledging the struggle that many women face when diagnosed with the disease, and helped unify a movement that has gone on to help millions of people worldwide.
Here at The Daily Cougar, we want to acknowledge the great service that Lauder has done for the world by creating the pink ribbon. In doing so, she has helped bring awareness to a disease that was once stigmatized and misunderstood by the public.