As Vice President of The Estee Lauder Companies, the cosmetics giant founded by her mother in law, Evelyn H. Lauder was familiar with a vast palette of colors, but pink was the color that changed her life, and the lives of thousands of women worldwide.
Lauder was convinced that breast cancer (she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in 1987) cannot be defeated only with individual efforts but through the work of a community devoted to its eradication. For this reason, she created the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and with the help of Self magazine’s former director, Alexandra Penney, they began the pink ribbon campaign, which has become an international emblem of the fight against breast cancer.
Two decades after Evelyn Lauder died of ovarian cancer, the Estee Lauder Companies continues her legacy with this year’s campaign, under the banner, Let’s Defeat Breast Cancer. We’re Stronger Together, which translates into an inspiring call for action to join the fight against the disease.
In 1993, Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), a not-for-profit organization that invests in breast cancer research. Since that date, the BCA Campaign has raised more than $48 million to support research, education and medical services, $38 million of which have been used to fund 152 breast cancer research projects, worldwide.
At the global level, each country faces diverse challenges. In many areas, the awareness efforts are lackluster, there is still a stigma attached to the disease, and access to medical care is almost non-existent. In the US, where the stigma has disappeared, and there is broad awareness of the illness, some women can’t afford mammography, the procedure that could save their lives. Many other American women lead unhealthy lifestyles, which can increase their chances of getting ill. This year’s campaign addresses those concerns.
“It’s been 21 years since my mother launched The Estee Lauder Companies’ BCA Campaign, which is now active in more than 70 countries worldwide. Perhaps the most gratifying accomplishment is that the fear that once surrounded breast cancer is being replaced by hope and inspiration”, says William Lauder, Estee Lauder Executive Chairman. “You have to remember that when she first started speaking out in 1992, an estimated 44,000 women in the U.S. were dying of breast cancer each year, and nobody was talking about it openly. She stood up for them, gave them a voice and created a path to solutions,” said Mrs. Lauder’s son, who carries his mother’s vision of a breast cancer-free world.
This year’s BCA Campaign is committed to raising $5 million. Donations can be made through BCACampaign.com, where every fifty dollars donated to BCRF represents about an hour of research and every $250,000 raised funds a full year research project. Additionally, varying sales percentages and dollar values from various products from the Estee Lauder Companies will go towards the BCRF. Previously, and just to name a few, funds have resulted in the development of an early-phase breast cancer vaccine trial and a weight loss program for women in hopes of preventing reoccurrences or metastasis.
1. Fabrizio Freda, President and CEO, ELC.
2. William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, ELC.
3. Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus, ELC.
4. Evelyn H. Lauder.
The 2013 BCA Campaign, through social media, global digital media and Estee Lauder Company websites, invites individuals from all over the world to establish their own “Circles of Strength” comprised of family, friends, co-workers and loved ones who can spread the word and rally around any action that may advance the eradication of breast cancer. Individual circles are encouraged to promote yearly mammograms after the age of 40, join to raise funds for BCRF and help each other make healthy lifestyle changes.
Statistics show that, in their lifetime, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This year’s campaign ads feature individuals celebrating their roles as mothers, friends and partners, representing how, simply put, breast cancer touches us all. Launching this October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the BCA Campaign will reach millions of people. Global landmarks will focus their attention on increasing Breast Cancer Awareness by illuminating their facades in glowing pink lights.
Elizabeth Hurley, Estee Lauder spokeswoman and Global Ambassador of the BCA Campaign is one of the many who has been personally impacted by breast cancer. In 1992, her grandmother passed away from the disease. Hurley said, “Evelyn Lauder envisioned a world without breast cancer. It is necessary to continue to celebrate her legacy and take positive action to build a future of breakthroughs in education and medical research.” ■