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A Brief History of Pinktober

For us, the fall time is not just reminiscent of pumpkin-spiced lattes, or the rusted colors of the falling leaves. Most importantly, our October is marked by one of the most significant observations – the fight against breast cancer. From the team at Mission Search, we wanted to relay a mini-history on Pinktober, a time during the year where knowledge and the spirit of innovation are key drivers in everything we do!

Early Days

The American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company (now known as AstraZeneca) founded Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) in 1985. More than 30 years later, the accompanying pink ribbons are now synonymous with October. Betty Ford was the catalyst that truly helped kick off the week-long event, as she was herself a survivor of breast cancer.

Where Did the Pink Ribbon Come From?

Charlotte Haley was the first creator of the “breast cancer ribbon,” which originally was peach, not pink. Haley, who had battled breast cancer, started making them in the 1990s at the age of 68. Her daughter, sister, and grandmother had breast cancer. As a strictly grassroots person, she made the ribbons by hand and handed them out at the local supermarket. Catching the attention of Estee Lauder, Haley refused to work with them, saying that they were too corporate. In return, Estee Lauder decided to change the color to bubblegum pink (dodging any legal recourse from Haley), and the iconic pink ribbon has remained the same to this day.

The Drive for Education and Innovation

The National Cancer Institute reports that the five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer is still only about 20 percent, a number that has not budged in nearly four decades. The value of early detection and the spread of knowledge is key in this fight against the disease. Nearly 41,000 people die of metastatic breast cancer every year, with the average prognosis being only two to four years. We hope that our efforts in campaigning will help to change this trend – and our healthcare partners are working tirelessly to treat, provide compassionate care, and produce better outcomes for patients across the nation.

Our Dedication

At Mission Search, we make every effort to observe health awareness days to help fuel and further the innovation in cancer care worldwide. We support several initiatives both in our community as well as nationwide events such as those supported by the American Cancer Society, CREW, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Koman, and more. We encourage all of our partners to join us this month in our advocacy efforts. To learn more, follow us on social media as we push the conversation forward!

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