Though the cancer bracelet idea started in 2004 with a single yellow wristband, there are so many different colours of cancer bracelets out there, of varying costs and for various causes, that it can be difficult to figure them out. Other organisations that are not affiliated with cancer have also adopted the trend, but this article will focus on the cancer bracelets.
The cancer bracelet craze started in May 2004 when Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation came out with their yellow LiveStrong bracelets to raise money for cancer research and cancer awareness. They chose the colour yellow because it is the colour of the jersey worn by the leader of the Tour de France. Though their initial goal was to raise £16 million by selling the bracelets for £0.6 each, since their inception the bracelets have raised more than £45 million. The bracelet was worn by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric and John Kerry, and the popularity of the bracelets inspired other cancer organisations and other causes to adopt the idea as well.
Bracelets are immediately visible to others, easy to sell for a minimal price, and inexpensive to manufacture. They can be used for numerous purposes, like to show admission has been paid or a donation has been made, or for identification with a cause. They can be taken off when not needed, and can be worn by men, women and children.
Each cancer has a colour associated with it for cancer awareness, and this colour is used on ribbons and bracelets to raise awareness for the cancer. Here is a list of various cancers and their corresponding colours. The bracelets are usually made of silicone or rubber.
Melanoma: black Multiple Myeloma: burgundy Head and Neck Cancer: burgundy and ivory Colon Cancer: dark blue Liver Cancer: emerald green Childhood Cancers: gold Brain Cancer: grey General Cancer Awareness: lavender Prostate Cancer: light blue Lymphoma: lime green Kidney Cancer: orange Leukaemia: orange Testicular Cancer: orchid Uterine Cancer: peach Lung Cancer: pearl/clear Esophageal Cancer: periwinkle blue Stomach Cancer: periwinkle Breast Cancer: pink Leiomyosarcoma: purple Pancreatic Cancer: purple Ovarian Cancer: teal Bladder Cancer: yellow Cervical Cancer: teal and white Thyroid Cancer: teal/pink/blue Sarcoma/Bone Cancer: yellow Caregivers: plum
Along with bracelets for individual cancers, organisations dealing with cancer also have bracelets to raise awareness. Sometimes there is a charge for the bracelets, other times they are given away for free. Organizations that have used wristbands include Susan G. Komen for the Cure, with pink bracelets; The Ovarian Cancer Institute with their teal bracelets; and i2y, an organisation for adolescents and young adults with cancer, having bracelets that say "Stupid Cancer."
Due to the popularity of the cancer bracelets, non-cancer organisations and other causes have adopted bracelets with the colour of their choosing. These causes include autism, world hunger, child abuse and domestic violence. Colleges and universities have also sold rubber bracelets in school colours to wear on game days or to raise school spirit. None of these bracelets have managed to match the widespread recognition that the yellow LiveStrong bracelet has had.