Origin of the Ribbon

Origin of the Ribbon

The ribbon is a symbol of awareness and support.  It was originally used in the early mid-1900s in a United States military marching song.  The song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, inspired the wife of a hostage held in Iran from 1979-1981 to use the yellow ribbon to show support for hostages and to remind others of their service to their country.  Later, during the Gulf War, the symbol evolved into a reminder of all men and women serving the country abroad.

A decade later, AIDS activists turned the yellow ribbon red.  From then on every charitable health cause had one.  It became so popular that the New York Times called 1992 “The Year of the Ribbon.”  The meaning behind the ribbon depends on its color or colors.   Many causes often share each color.

Ribbon colors representing cancer:

Clear, Pearl or White : Lung                                                 

Blue :  Mouth

Orange : Leukemia                                                                       

Yellow : Bone                                                                        

Lime  : Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma                                

Purple : Testicular                                                                     

Periwinkle : Stomach and Esophageal                         

Pink and Blue : Male Breast                                                

Gray : Brain                                                                         

Black : Melanoma                                                           

Pink : Breast                                                              

Green : Kidney                                                                         

Teal : Ovarian                                                                      

Teal and White : Cervical                                                    

Violet : Hodgkin’s Lymphoma                                                                      

Burgundy : Multiple Myeloma                                                                

Red and Orange : Myeloproliferative Disorders           

Burgundy and Ivory : Head and Neck