The first ribbons used to represent cancer research were pink ribbons that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation handed out at a fundraising race in 1991, reports Think Before You Pink. At about the same time, cancer survivor Charlotte Haley was distributing peach-colored ribbons at local events.
After the Komen Foundation's successful ribbon campaign, the cosmetics' giant Estee Lauder wanted to mass-distribute colored ribbons in honor of breast-cancer research and survivors, says Think Before You Pink. The company approached Ms. Haley about a collaboration, but she choose to continue her efforts on her own. When Estee Lauder's lawyers advised it to use a color other than peach, the company, which had by that time teamed up with Self Magazine, chose pink.