According to FundRaisers.com, awareness ribbons possess a complex history. Some believe they began with black armbands worn in Victorian times to symbolise mourning, while others believe they began with red ribbons on car antennas symbolising the cause of MADD. People who wear the ribbons usually sport them folded over once to create a loop at the top. You can find them in nearly every colour, with all colours representing awareness of multiple causes.
According to Disabled-World.com, blue awareness ribbons bring attention to Hydranencephaly (a congenital disease of the brain), child abuse and prostate cancer. FundRaisers.com indicates that light blue ribbons also promote the awareness of Colon Cancer and Scleroderma. TrinityLondon.com adds that light blue ribbons also stand for Trisomy 18 (a genetic disorder), and childhood cancer. Dark blue ribbons bring awareness to water quality, water safety, arthritis, free speech and victim's rights. Other blue ribbon causes include Osteogenesis Imperfecta, ARDS, Epstein-Barr virus, colorectal cancer, victims of Hurricane Katrina and the I Love Clean Air campaign in Japan.
Orange ribbons help bring the causes of the humane treatment of animals, self-injury awareness, hunger, leukaemia and cultural diversity to the forefront. Orange ribbons also represent kidney cancer, ADHD and leukaemia, as stated on the Disabled-World site.
Ribbons the colour of teal are used to represent awareness of ovarian cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, sexual assault, tsunami victims and cervical and uterine cancers, according to the Trinity London website. Disabled-World adds that a teal ribbon represents anxiety disorders and agoraphobia, too.
Pink ribbons promote awareness of breast cancer, and also signify birth parents for adoption, according to FundRaisers.com. Pink also makes an alternative to light blue ribbons signifying awareness of childhood cancer, adds Trinity London.
Purple ribbons are one of the two most-used for awareness, according to the Fund Raisers website. Purple ribbons promote awareness of lupus, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer's and domestic violence. They also signify causes such as sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia and cystic fibrosis. Testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, ADD, the victims of 9/11, Crohn's disease, animal abuse and religious tolerance are also represented by purple ribbons. Lavender ribbons signify the causes of epilepsy and rett syndrome, and also promote general cancer awareness, as stated on the Trinity London site. Periwinkle promotes enlightenment regarding pulmonary hypertension, eating disorders and stomach cancer. Violet ribbons stand for lymphoma. In 2010, the purple ribbon began to raise awareness regarding anti-gay bullying.
Silver can signify schizophrenia, severe depression, Parkinson's disease, children with disabilities, anxiety and bipolar disorder. In Australia, it raises awareness of ovarian cancer. Diabetic children, multiple sclerosis, anti-stigma, amalgam and brain disorders are also represented by silver ribbons.
There are a host of multicoloured awareness ribbons. A blue and purple ribbon brings attention to rheumatoid arthritis and paediatric stroke. Pink and blue represent infant deaths due to SIDS or other causes, stillbirth, miscarriage and inflammatory breast cancer. The multicoloured, puzzle-style ribbon denotes awareness of autism.