Awareness ribbons are used all around the world as a way for the wearer to make a subtle statement of support for a cause or issue. They were first recognised as a symbol of support in 1917 during a marching song sung by the military in the United States. The song referred to young women who wore yellow ribbons around their neck to illustrate their desire for their husbands and sons to return home from the war.

The meaning behind the awareness ribbon depends on its colour. Many groups have adopted ribbons as symbols of support or awareness, and as a result, many causes often share the same colour. Some causes may also be represented by more than one colour.

During the 1990s, AIDS activists were inspired by the ribbon movement and began making ribbons for people who supported the fight against AIDS. Red was chosen as it was the colour of passion. The New York Times then declared 1992 as “The Year of the Ribbon”.

Perhaps the best known awareness ribbon is the Pink Ribbon, which is synonymous with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and is the symbol of support for the many women who have been affected by breast cancer globally.

However, there are many other ribbons used by groups and individuals to signify their support for a particular disease or health issue. The following are some examples of ribbons used both globally and within Australia:

Organ Donor Awareness

World Cancer Day

Leukaemia Awareness

Arthritis Awareness

Heart Awareness

Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness

Diabetes Awareness

Prostate Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

Lung Cancer Awareness

HIV/AIDS Awareness

Carcinoid Cancer Awareness

Cervical Cancer Awareness

Coping With Cancer

Down Syndrome Awareness

Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness

Hearing Disorders and Meniere’s Disease Awareness

Hodgkin’s Disease Awareness

Menkes Disease Awareness

Platelet Donors

Pulminory Fibrosis Awareness

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis Awareness

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness

Teen Cancer Awareness