Awareness ribbons are everywhere, whether in the form of car magnets, windshield stickers, or pins on our clothes. No matter where you see them, the idea is still the same: for that person to show their support to the world for a certain cause or organization.
Before writing this article, I only knew what a handful of awareness ribbon colors actually meant or supported. Are you curious, too? Here’s what the most common awareness ribbon colors mean!
Pink Ribbon: Pink is most commonly associated with breast cancer awareness, but it’s used for more than just that. What many people don’t know is that pink ribbons are also symbols for respecting birth parents and for childhood cancer awareness.
Yellow Ribbon: Yellow is commonly seen as a symbol to support our troops and to give us hope. However, it is also a symbol for POW/MIA (Prisoners of War, Missing in Action), suicide prevention, adoptive parents, spina bifida, sarcoma, missing children, bone cancer, craniofacial acceptance, and endometriosis. Also, be aware that a yellow ribbon with a heart is used to represent the survivors left behind after a suicide.
Red Ribbon: Red is generally used to show support for the fight against HIV/AIDS. This ribbon is also a symbol for stroke, heart disease, substance abuse, MADD, DARE, epidermolysis bullosa, complex regional pain syndrome (formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy), and vasculitis.
Blue Ribbon: Blue is associated with child abuse awareness/prevention. It is also used to represent drunk driving awareness, colon cancer (alternative ribbon color: brown), dystonia, bullying awareness, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), addiction recovery awareness, prostate cancer, Huntington’s disease, domestic violence, victim’s rights, free speech, Canada’s National Non Smoking Week, chronic fatigue syndrome, and human trafficking and sex slavery awareness (navy blue ribbon).
Green Ribbon: Green is most commonly used for childhood depression. It also represents missing children, environmental concerns, kidney cancer, tissue/organ donation, cerebral palsy awareness and support, Lyme disease, liver cancer, pedestrian safety, traumatic brain injury awareness and support, and craniosynostosis awareness for varied organizations.
Black Ribbon: Black ribbons are used as general symbols for mourning, and you may see magnetic versions raising awareness for POW/MIA as an alternative to yellow. It’s not solely for mourning, though — black also represents melanoma awareness and gang prevention.
Purple Ribbon: Purple typically represents pancreatic cancer. It is also a symbol for Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, animal abuse, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis awareness, thyroid cancer, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and religious tolerance.
Believe it or not, I have barely scratched the surface on awareness ribbon color symbolism! This is just a small list of the most popular colors. You’ll likely see a rainbow of colors out there — each with an abundance of meanings — all supporting good causes and awareness organizations. No matter which cause you support, be sure to do it with pride in as many forms as you can. You can never show a good cause too much love!
Which one of these awareness ribbon colors was new to you? Did we miss anything? Which causes do YOU support?