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Why is a pink ribbon worn every October 19, Breast Cancer Day?

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October 19 is Breast Cancer Day, a day that serves as a reminder of the commitment of society in the fight against this tumor, one of the most frequent

Every October 19, the facades of town halls, official buildings and even some companies wake up decorated with an immense pink ribbon. The same that dozens, hundreds and thousands of citizens place their profile image on their social networks or on their WhatsApp avatar and the same one that many others wear, hooked to the lapel of their jacket. October 19 is Breast Cancer Day, included in a month that the World Health Organization (WHO) dedicates, in its entirety, to the fight against this tumor.

In Spain, about 25,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed a year and the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) is emphatic with its data: “We can say that one in eight women will have breast cancer throughout their life”. And that is precisely why every year on October 19 is celebrated, a day in which most of the towns in the country dress in pink: to remember the commitment of the whole of society in the fight against this tumor.

But why is a bow used to commemorate this date? And why pink? In general, the crossed tie has been used as a universal symbol of support for a multitude of causes. What is perhaps more unknown is the fact that the first time it was used was in the so-called ‘Iran hostage crisis’: a crisis that started on November 4, 1979 after the Iranian Revolution in Tehran, where they were 66 people were kidnapped at the US Embassy, ​​whom the Iranians demanded to hand over Mohamed Reza Pahlevi, the last Iranian ‘sha’, in exile.

The situation was not resolved until 1981, 444 days later, when Iran agreed to release the hostages after the death of the ‘sha’ – who died of cancer. Among those rescued was Bruce Laingen, head of the diplomatic mission in Tehran, whom his wife, Penney, had supported throughout. He silently showed his support to him and all the hostages (53 Americans) with a yellow bow. Ten years later, it was the Visual AIDS group – fighting HIV – that copied this idea, on this occasion, with a red bow worn by actor Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, as a sign of that this “epidemic” was also affecting a community that seemed immune to everything: that of Hollywood artists.


And finally, the pink ribbon

From show of support to show of support, the famous bow came to the hands of Charlotte Hayley, then dyeing it a peach color. And he was the one who placed next to a card in which it could be read: “The annual budget of the National Cancer Institute (of the United States) is 1.8 billion dollars and only five percent is allocated to cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this tie. ” She distributed thousands of these cards, delivering them to supermarkets and mailing them to strong women in the country.


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