Like most of history’s most influential movements, Evelyn Lauder’s idea began because of a need.
Seeing how many women were affected by breast cancer and conversely, how little scientific research was being conducted at that time, Lauder was inspired to start an advocacy that would eventually help change the world.
Evelyn Lauder, who was Estée Lauder’s daughter-in-law, co-created the Pink Ribbon in 1992, and started a campaign around breast cancer awareness with other impassioned voices. A year later, she established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which to this day is a leading non-profit organization committed to funding groundbreaking research towards treatments and eventually a cure for breast cancer.
Lauder knew how crucial it was to shine a light on breast health and did so by fundraising, attending events, and guesting on TV where she could talk about the cause. She was often joined by actress and model Elizabeth Hurley, who has been a staunch supporter and the Global Ambassador for the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign for 27 years.
To date, Estée Lauder has given away millions of pink ribbons, and perhaps millions more have been created by supporters on their own. “It is a ubiquitous sign now, throughout the world, to say we care about breast cancer, and we care about you,” Hurley had once said.1
Lauder knew the power of marketing, and used her influence and their company’s resources for good. The foundation has to date contributed more than $194 million towards research, and continues to bolster early detection initiatives and support for the community.
From just 8 scientists, the BCRF now supports the work of more than 250 investigators worldwide. Great minds who have helped us understand the different kinds of breast cancer, leading to more tailored treatments. Research has also helped us identify breast cancer stem cells, which previously were thought to only affect blood cancers. Currently, the foundation is focused on causes and treatments for metastasis in breast cancer (when the cancer spreads), as well as development of novel combination approaches for more aggressive forms of the disease.
Paying it forward
With 75 years of history, the Estée Lauder Companies is a beauty giant that aims to make a positive impact with their “values driven” approach to business. Sharyn Wong, Country General Manager of Estée Lauder Companies Philippines, tells Lifestyle Asia of their commitment to “support the local community and improve the lives of women affected by breast cancer.”
“As an example, we recently donated two bio-hood machines to Philippine General Hospital to allow the hospital to deliver double the chemotherapy sessions for patients. And this year, our plan is to support 4000 free mammograms for marginalized women through Kasuso (Philippine Foundation for Breast Care),” she reveals.
Wong also shares how Estée Lauder Philippines plans to conduct fundraising efforts for the benefit of this cause, pampering sessions for breast cancer survivors and volunteers, as well as facilitating educational talks regarding prevention and care.
The efforts of the Estée Lauder Companies, their clients, and partners have clearly ushered in a sea of change. What started as a movement to create awareness, has now also transformed into one about survivorship – of what survivors can accomplish because they beat breast cancer, and what we all can accomplish together. As Evelyn Lauder once said about the cause, “It is really something that can never be done by one person; it has to be done by a group.” Clearly what she started, continues to live on.