No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, chances are you have been personally affected by breast cancer. The statistics are clear and overwhelming; but statistics mean little when faced with the diagnosis of yourself or a loved one. For those who fight the battle against this cancer on a daily basis, the support of family and friends is just as important as the treatment received - necessary support that widens still the circle of people affected by this disease. This family of patients and supporters "strong in numbers" often find the wearing of a breast cancer ribbon to be a sign of their connectivity and a larger call for awareness and aggressive strides in research. We've all seen them - the pink breast cancer ribbon that adorns any manner of clothing and is meant to draw attention to the staggering statistics - affecting one in eight women during their lifetime; over a million people throughout the world this year alone; and claiming the lives of 43,000 people a year in the United States. The wearing or displaying of a ribbon has long been identified with the plight of charitable causes; from the yellow ribbons tied around trees in honor of soldiers far from home, to the looped red ribbon worn in symbol of AIDS activism.
The pink ribbon, that is now so inseparable from its cause, had its origins with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The foundation, which began in 1982 as a way to unite women who were suffering with breast cancer in a unified call for better funded research, began holding Race for the Cure in 1990, an annual walk/run event to help raise funds for education, screening, treatment, and research. Participants of the race who were cancer survivors were initially given pink visors to commemorate their fight; but all participants began receiving pink ribbons in 1991.
However, the ribbon really stepped into the limelight in 1992 when Self magazine featured it in its second annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. The magazine partnered with Estee Lauder who handed out over a million pink ribbons at its makeup counters across the country. Attached to each were instructions on proper breast self-examination and information on how to petition the White House for increased funding for better research. Legend tells us that the pink ribbon was chosen because of its close association with femininity. Meant to empower and inspire women to enact change in their own medical care, the pink ribbon began as a wake-up call for all women; without fully engaging in the network of healthcare, researchers, and government that wield influence in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, women were at the mercy of those in power.
It was time to take an active role and affect change at the highest level. Today, the power of the ribbon holds fast to its fundamental values with which it was originally introduced. And it continues its work of uniting generations of women and families in the fight against cancer. As research continues and new medical and technological advancements are brought to the table, the ribbon will surely continue in its role as a sign of awareness and an infinite commitment by its wearers.
For more information on breast cancer try visiting http://www.breastcanceranalysis.com - a website that specializes in providing breast cancer related information and resources including information on the breast cancer ribbon.