There are only a limited number of colours, and combinations of them, but there are many health and disability causes. That’s the reason why, for each color, there are a number of charities that use it for their publicity and fundraising activities.
Just take the orange ribbon as an example. We know that it is the colour adopted for multiple sclerosis in many countries. Additionally, orange is also used by these causes:
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Agent Orange
- Cultural Diversity
- Kidney Cancer – Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Leukemia awareness
- Malnutrition awareness
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Self Injury Awareness Day
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Spinal Cancer
Confusing, isn’t it? Including MS, that’s 14 separate causes to have chosen the orange as the colour of their official ribbon.
Colours started with red
It started more than 25 years ago. The red awareness ribbon for HIV/AIDS was launched by the AIDS Ribbon Project at the 45th Annual Tony Awards ceremony on June 2, 1991.
Yes, the red ribbon was, apparently, the first ever ribbon symbol. And that led to all the rest, including the orange ribbon for MS and the renowned pink one for breast cancer awareness.
Mind you, there s nothing new about wearing coloured symbols. For example, each political party has its own colour. Parties use their colours for promotional material and election rosettes worn by party workers. What’s more, William Shakespeare wrote about coloured symbols that people wore.
In the famous English playwright’s classic Othello (Act iv, scene 3), Desdemona refer to an early version of the song “All round my hat, I wears a green willow”. The lyrics say: “If anyone should ask, the reason why I wears it, tell them that my true love is far, far away”.
Today, we have so many charities, and other causes, all trying to raise money and awareness. And there are too few colours to go round.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.