Every year, October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting women in Malaysia. About one in nineteen women in Malaysia are at risk of developing breast cancer in comparison to one in eight in Europe and the United States (Malaysian Oncology Society, 2012). The number one action point women can take from this statistic, is getting themselves a mammogram because early detection saves lives.
For the month also known as Pink October, the world comes together to do their bit by donating to several programmes and cancer centres to raise awareness about the disease.
Breast cancer survivor and America’s National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., (NBCF) supporter, Patryce Sheppard, says she has realised she “was not educated or aware about what breast cancer actually was and how it impacted and affected people.”
This is the kind of assistance and guidance Breast Cancer Awareness Month, too, aims to provide along with inspiring hope among those who are suffering from breast cancer.
Amid all this, one wonders how we arrived at choosing a pink ribbon that symbolises the support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is seen on advertisement boards, social media, collaborations, charities and everywhere the eye goes. This association has an intriguing history.
In 1990, Komen of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was distributing pink visors to breast cancer survivors who ran in the Race for the Cure event, bringing the colour to the limelight. In late 1991, they handed out pink ribbons during the race in New York City.
The following year, editor-in-chief of Self magazine Alexandra Penney teamed up with Evelyn Lauder — a breast cancer survivor and the then Estée Lauder senior corporate vice president — who added the pink ribbon to its cosmetic counters in the US.
Soon, they came across a 68-year-old woman named Charlotte Haley, who came from a family where most women had battled breast cancer. Handing out peach-coloured loops at the local market, her message stated: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is USD 1.8 billion (about RM7.47 billion), only 5 per cent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
Having already distributed thousands and spread her message by word of mouth, Haley refused to collaborate with Self, saying they were “too commercial”. However, the magazine wanted to continue with the ribbon. The brand’s lawyers suggested they come up with a different colour. That is how they arrived at ‘150-pink’.
Over the years, many global brands have also joined hands with international funds and breast cancer charities that either help people suffering from the disease through medical and financial services or support breast cancer research that is trying to find new and innovative ways of fighting the disease.
Here are some brands that are trying to make a difference in the battle against breast cancer and contributing during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year, Pink October 2021.
Products in support of Pink October 2021:
Victoria’s Secret Mastectomy Bra
Lingerie, clothing and beauty retailer Victoria’s Secret partnered with Pelotonia, an organisation that supports innovative cancer research, to create the VS Global Fund For Women’s Cancer.
For the entire month of October, also the VS will be selling a mastectomy bra, which features beautiful partially recycled lace, for an introductory price of USD 10 (about RM41.50). It is available in two colours — champagne-white and black.
The total amount from the sales, up to a maximum donation of USD 150,000 (RM622,275), will be donated to the research.
ALIA B X Dhan Illiani
ALIA B works alongside Dhan Illiani who created the artwork for this collaboration; an oversized jumper and t-shirt combo with proceeds directed to National Cancer Society Malaysia and Children’s Home of Hope. Illiani’s featured artwork is titled Sincerely, Adik, showcasing a subtle butterfly shaped by a woman’s hands as she plays the game Cat’s Cradle with rubber bands. The artist says these elements represent the fluidity and continuous change of children growing their wings.
Designer Alia Bastamam gushes, “Dhan’s mixed-media collages struck a chord with us – we love her voice for storytelling, eye for composition and aesthetically, Dhan is nothing short of cool.”
Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Collection
In 2000, the American fashion company initiated a global campaign named Pink Pony Campaign, which supports initiatives that make quality treatment available to cancer patients, thereby reducing disparity amongst them.
The Ralph Lauren website states: “When someone we love has cancer, we are all affected — husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends. This is our effort in the fight against cancer.”
Whenever one buys from the Pink Pony collection, 25 percent of the purchase price of each item goes to the fund or various international cancer charities. However, when one buys the Pink Pony fleece hoodie, the entire amount goes to cancer charities.
The collection is available in Ralph Lauren’s boutique in Pavilion KL.
Lele Sadoughi Candy-Jeweled Slim Woven Knotted Headband
To raise awareness around Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the brand has released a gorgeous pink headband they call the Candy-Jeweled Slim Woven Knotted Headband. Ten per cent of the sale of each of these headbands will be given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF).
Sigma Beauty ‘Pretty In Pink Set’
The brand has launched a collection titled ‘Pretty In Pink Set’, in collaboration with The Pink Fund. The latter is an organisation that helps people undergoing breast cancer treatment in several ways, including payment of bills up to 90 days of the treatment, reducing stress levels, providing basic necessities and much more.
The limited-edition products comprise a travel-size eyeshadow palette, a blending brush and hydrating liquid lipstick. Earnings amounting to 20 per cent of the sale of these products will be donated to The Pink Fund.
Jimmy Choo Breast Cancer capsule collection
n association with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, high-end luxury brand Jimmy Choo has put out a capsule collection that contains some of the most gorgeous products.
One of these is the best-selling BING 100 in bright pink satin with a crystal strap. Twenty per cent of the purchase price from the sale of each item in this collection will go to the research foundation, amounting to a maximum donation of US$ 100,000 (RM415,000).
Other products from the collection are handbags, wallets, pumps and more.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair with Pink Ribbon Sleeve
Estée Lauder Companies launched its Breast Cancer Campaign in 1992. The Campaign has also been a partner of the BCRF. The foundation and the campaign were founded by the late Evelyn H. Lauder.
The beauty brand’s renowned Advanced Night Repair serum has also been launched in special packaging for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Along with the night repair serum, a bright pink pin and a kit that has multiple beauty products have been unveiled.
Twenty per cent of the purchase price of each of the Advanced Night Repair Serum sold from September 2021–June 2022 (or till supplies last), adding up to the maximum of USD 261,000 (about RM1.083 million), will be donated to the BCRF.
Savage X Fenty Breast Cancer Awareness Bralette
One of the most loved lingerie brands, Savage X Fenty by multi-hyphenated Rihanna, introduced one of her famous bralettes in ash pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For every bralette that is purchased, a portion of the purchase price will be donated to the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF).
Savage X Fenty is donating to a fund that supports “critical breast cancer research and helps members of the black community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
GUESS Sparkling Pink Limited Edition Pink Leather Watch
GUESS Watches has partnered with the non-profit organisation Get In Touch Foundation for the eighth consecutive year to spread breast cancer awareness during October and raise funds for the same.
The company released a special analogue watch with pink rhinestones and a patent crocodile-embossed strap. Ten per cent of each watch sold will go to the foundation.
Clinique Limited-Edition Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+
Among the other beauty brands that come under Estée Lauder Companies is Clinique.
With the launch of its Limited-Edition Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ for great skin, Clinique is doing its bit to spread breast cancer awareness this month. The special packaging of this product consists of a pink ribbon keychain.
The brand will donate USD 10 (about RM41.50) from every purchase of the moisturiser, containing Hyaluronic acid, for breast cancer research at the BCRF. It aims to achieve a goal of USD 490,000 (about RM2.032 million).
(Main image credit: Jimmy Choo)
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Singapore.