Print options

November 12, 2011

Creator of Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Dies

The American woman who helped create the Pink Ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness has died.

Evelyn Lauder was the daughter-in-law of Estee Lauder, who gave the name to the well-known cosmetics company.  Evelyn Lauder died of ovarian cancer in New York City on Saturday.  She was 75.

In 1992, she and a friend created the small pink bows to make women aware of the dangers of breast cancer. She had developed breast cancer four years earlier, but had successfully fought it. The bows have since become a worldwide symbol of the breast cancer fight.

The wife of Leonard Lauder, president of Estee Lauder Companies, she served as vice president and was instrumental in creating products that helped turn Estee Lauder into a leader of global cosmetic beauty. She and her husband financed the initial distribution of the pink bows to remind women of the importance of getting breast exams.

Evelyn Lauder was born in 1938 in Vienna, which she fled with her parents after Hitler's annexation of Austria, eventually settling in New York City.  

The Pink Ribbon campaign has led to the congressional designation in the United States of October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Lauder also started the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has raised more than $330 million.

Her mother-in-law, Estee Lauder, died in 2004 at the age of 97.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.