Cause Corner

What do ribbons mean?

Different colored awareness ribbons have become the universal symbol to represent most causes, not only health-related ones. You’ll see them on magnets, pins, stickers, bracelets, the list goes on, but do they make a difference? Where did they come from and why should we wear them? 

Where did ribbons come from?

The history of colored awareness ribbons starts even before pink ribbons for breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Action cites that In the 1970s a soldier was held hostage in Iran and his wife tied yellow ribbons around her oak trees, a song was written, and soon after yellow ribbons were tied around anything and everything to show military support. Soon after the ribbon turned red and became the official symbol for AIDS awareness, according to Breast Cancer Action. Not longer after, the famous Susan G. Komen for the Cure® used the color pink for their cause, using an abstract female runner outlined with a pink ribbon for their first Komen Race for the Cure®. Of course, it only grew from there. Today, there are hundreds of causes using various colored ribbons to bring awareness and solidarity to their cause. 

Why should you wear a ribbon?

Over recent years, the value of using awareness ribbons has been questioned. What does it really do? Does it give a false sense of activism? In some cases this may be true, but when you ask for people’s stories you will find out pretty quickly that the solidarity communicated with a ribbon is powerful. Wearing a ribbon does not replace the need for supportive relationships, research, or raising funds, but at Supportstore we’ve heard story after story about how these simple items mean a lot more than you’d think. 

Sanette from Mississippi wrote, “The Periwinkle-Stomach Cancer Awareness bracelets were the one thing my cousin asked for family and friends to wear, as we laid her Mother (my Aunt) to rest that Sunday. I was determined to get them and to honor my Aunt.  In her battle with Stomach Cancer, my Aunt lived and demonstrated all of the words printed on the bracelets: Hope, Courage and Faith!” 

Sue from Tennessee shared, “ I purchased this colon cancer ribbon for a special friend. Her dad will be having surgery the 30th of this month.The doctor feels he has caught it in time (Praise the Lord). She told me that I just don’t know what this pin means to her. I am so glad that this small gift to her could give her some joy.” 

We need symbols to spread awareness and show our solidarity. These stories show that ribbons are a way to express support for causes you care about, and they are proven to mean even more to those you love who affected by the cause.