Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pink for the Cause: Designer of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon Dies of Cancer

The woman who co-designed the now-ubiquitous pink ribbon to promote breast cancer awareness has herself died of cancer.

75-year-old Evelyn Lauder died today at her Manhattan home of complications due to non-genetic ovarian cancer. Lauder co-designed the pink ribbon with the former editor of Self magazine, her good friend Alexandra Penney, in 1992. The ribbon quickly gained in popularity over the years and helped raise billions of dollars to search for a cure for the disease. The symbol was adopted by the Susan G. Komen Search for the Cure Foundation, and inspired similar, different colored ribbons to help raise awareness of other forms of the disease.

Mrs. Lauder was the daughter-in-law of the founder of cosmetics empire Estee Lauder. The money she raised helped fund the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 2009. Lauder was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, but continued to work tirelessly, both for the Estee Lauder Corporation and keeping up the search for a cancer cure.

Born in Vienna, Austria, she fled Nazi-occupied Europe with her parents during World War II. She met her husband Leonard, son of Estee Lauder, while attending Hunter College in New York. At the time, her mother-in-law's cosmetics company was a small, simple enterprise that would eventually grow into one of the most successful in the world. Evelyn came up with the name of the company's popular skin care line Clinique during the 1960s.

Leonard and Evelyn Lauder's son William is currently executive chairman of Estee Lauder. Another son, Gary, is managing director of Lauder Partners LLC, a technology investment firm.

Evelyn Lauder Photo Credit The Daily Mail

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