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Awareness Ribbons: 10 Popular Coloured Ribbons for Awareness and What They Mean

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Kingsley Felix
Blogger and Editor here on Healthtian and other Krafty Sprouts sites, I make sure things run smoothly as they should.

There are lots of coloured ribbons for various causes these days. It’s gotten to the point where charitable people often have a hard time with distinguishing between all of the different causes.

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Having a certainly awareness of different causes can really help people when it comes to deciding how to allocate one’s time and resources.

There are certain awareness ribbons that are more popular than others and certain awareness ribbons that everyone should know, given the nature of the causes and the fact that they’re going to see the awareness ribbons mentioned so often.

One of the complicated aspects of awareness ribbons is that there are only so many colours. Some colours are going to be used more often than others. Other colours are going to be featured more often, and they might be used to represent a lot of different causes at once.

This means that people should consider that a particular ribbon might represent something different than they initially thought, and they should take this into account. Often times, there are certain ways for people to remember the coloured ribbon symbolism.

They’re just going to have to keep in mind the different cultural associations that people have with different colours and with different symbols, and then it is going to be easier for them to remember the colours associated with different awareness ribbons. Awareness ribbons are everywhere today, but it is possible to narrow down the associations and symbols.

Awareness ribbons are part of a culture where people are at least trying to make a difference, even if they know that they’re not going to be able to solve all of these problems themselves and no one is solving them right away. Wearing a simple coloured ribbon really can make a difference.

Red Ribbons

Red RibbonRed ribbons are the most famous, arguably. They are certainly among the most dramatic of all of the different awareness ribbons. This is a ribbon that is often used to represent HIV/AIDS, which is a blood borne pathogen, so the red ribbon seems to logically follow in the minds of many.

Red ribbons are also used in order to fight heart disease, and heart disease is a problem that affects a part of the body often associated with the colour red.

White Ribbons

One way to remember what white ribbons signify is to think about what white itself usually means. White often makes people think of air, and air is connected to the lungs. White ribbons are often going to be connected to the lungs. Contrary to popular belief, there is an awareness ribbon for lung cancer, which is a common ailment.

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The awareness ribbon for lung cancer is going to be white, pearl, opal, or transparent in many cases. Emphysema is another disease that is usually represented with a white ribbon.

The victims of smoking-related diseases have their awareness ribbons, and people can support research in the direction of helping them. The awareness ribbons for multiple sclerosis and mesothelioma are both going to be white in many cases as well.

Teal Ribbons

Teal Ribbon

Teal is a colour close to blue, so people should think of blue in terms of sadness and fear. Teal is also close to green, which is associated with illness.

Teal awareness ribbons are often used in order to support people who have anxiety disorders. PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorders are usually going to be represented using teal ribbons.

People who want to show support for the victims of sexual assault and rape are often going to use teal ribbons as well, and many of these victims are also going to have PTSD.

Ovarian cancer and food allergies are often represented using teal ribbons, which might make them seem out of place compared with some of the other colours. However, all of these causes are still going to present themselves in some people, and there is more awareness about all of these causes today.

Food allergies can truly be permanently disabling for a lot of people, and some of them can even cause death. These are the sorts of problems that require their own awareness ribbons, which should be used to help people address chronic problems as well as problems that lead to crises.

Purple Ribbons

 

Purple is a colour that lots of people like, and that is difficult to associate with specific problems that people might have. Cystic fibrosis is often represented using a purple ribbon.

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Macular Degeneration, chronic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, and ADD and ADHD are often represented using purple ribbons as well. These diseases have very little in common, and it might seem odd that purple is designated for all of them.

However, it should still be noted that this is a colour that tends to get attention, which is one of the most important characteristics of all awareness ribbons.

Purple ribbons are vibrant and command attention, which might subtly connect people with thought disorders like ADD and ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease, Epilepsy, etc… Which can cause people to lose their ability to focus.

Gold Ribbons

People often associate the colour gold with the very young for whatever reason, and gold ribbons could be contextualized in that manner. Almost all paediatric cancers are going to be symbolized with a gold awareness ribbon.

Some people will see gold ribbons used to represent breast feeding, which is increasingly becoming a politicized cause. Many people are defending the right of women to breastfeed in public, and lots of other people are promoting the health benefits of breastfeeding as well. Gold is a colour associated with childhood in more ways than one.

Yellow Ribbons

Yellow is the colour of the sun, and as such, for a lot of people it is the symbol of hope and light and rebirth. As such, it isn’t surprising that this is going to be the sort of colour that people would see on a lot of awareness ribbons.

This is a ribbon that is associated with suicide prevention specifically, and hope and light make perfect sense as sentiments that should be connected with suicide prevention.

People also wear yellow ribbons to express their support for soldiers overseas. Yellow is also used in order to support bladder cancer and spina bifida, which is a birth defect that can be potentially fatal under the worst of circumstances.

Periwinkle

Periwinkle ribbon

Periwinkle, which is a sort of light blue that has some grey and white mixed in, is another popular colour for awareness ribbons. This is important, because many of the causes that are represented using periwinkle ribbons need to get more attention more often.

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Stomach and oesophageal cancer are both represented using periwinkle ribbons. Pulmonary hypertension is also often represented using periwinkle ribbons.

People who are looking for awareness ribbons in support of eating disorders should consider periwinkle ribbons, which are among the most common of the problems that are represented by periwinkle ribbons.

Blue

This can get confusing in many cases, because blue is a generic colour and there are lots of other awareness ribbons that are going to feature different shades of blue.

However, if people see a ribbon that is blue and that appears to be a fairly generic shade of blue, then it is going to be that much easier for them to be able to figure out the awareness ribbon in question.

Bullying and child abuse are both often represented using blue ribbons. Crohn’s disease and Huntington’s disease are both often represented using blue ribbons as well.

These are diseases that tend to be neglected in public discussions of chronic illnesses, and having a popular colour like blue represent them can really make a difference in general.

Orange

Orange is a less popular colour. On the lists of favourite colours, orange is often close to the bottom. However, many people are still going to appreciate the orange awareness ribbons. These ribbons are often used in order to raise awareness about hunger and malnutrition.

Given the number of foods that are orange or close to orange, this certainly makes sense. Kidney cancer and leukaemia are also frequently represented using an orange ribbon.

Both of these causes are less intuitive when it comes to connecting them with the colour of the ribbon, but this should still work for a lot of people.

Melanoma, spinal cancer, self-injury awareness, and many other disorders are represented using orange. Awareness about Agent Orange is represented using an orange ribbon, which is perhaps the only intuitive use of something like this ribbon.

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Many of these issues are still going to be around for a long time, and Agent Orange is something that people should never forget.

Puzzle Pattern

The puzzle pattern is much easier to remember and it isn’t anywhere near as abstract as many of the other ribbons that people can use.

This is a ribbon that people use in the context of autism. It is used in order to support the people who have autism, particularly the children who have autism. This is a ribbon that people can use when it comes to lending their support to this specific cause.

Conflicts with Awareness Ribbons

awareness ribbon

It should be noted that the fact that one ribbon can be used to represent multiple causes can certainly have a wide range of different effects.

For one thing, the white ribbon is used to represent a lot of different causes, from LGBT, suicide awareness to blindness. However, people who are against abortion also use white ribbons to symbolize their perspective.

The same people who want to wear a ribbon in order to support research about blindness are not necessarily going to support abortion, although it really all depends. Abortion is a highly politicized and divisive issue, and many people who identify as progressive do not support anti-abortion policies.

This issue can cause confusion and conflict, especially because the people who are against abortion are often very vocal about it and they are often going to wear the ribbons proudly and actively.

There are lots of other ribbons that are going to stand for lots of different causes. If all of those causes are related to diseases and the treatment of diseases, few people are going to run into problems or conflicts. Few people are actively in favour of certain types of diseases.

However, mental health issues are sometimes politicized in today’s culture, which people arguing over acceptance, disease, disability, and many of the issues connected to living life as a person who has a mental illness.

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Autism is certainly a disorder that brings out people who have very strong opinions, and this can be tough for the people who are just interested in wearing a ribbon.

There is also the fact that certain causes tend to dominate more than others. Red ribbons are almost universally associated with HIV/AIDS.

The fact that red ribbons are also going to be associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, huffing, stroke, lymphoma, burn victims, and drug awareness might have a tendency to get lost in translation at times.

All of these causes are important, and some people might find it frustrating that certain causes are going to come to dominate and others are not, although in most cases, it will only require a quick explanation to clear up everything.

To complicate matters further, some ribbons are actually used to symbolize very abstract causes and ideas. The red ribbon is used to represent courage and inspiration, which is natural for something as energetic and vibrant as the colour red in the first place.

Other people might not initially pick up on that, however, since they are going to associate the red colour with a lot of the other more concrete causes associated with the red ribbon.

However, most people are still going to appreciate the red ribbon, even if it is not immediately obvious why a person is wearing it or in what capacity.

People wear ribbons when they are going to be raising money for causes or raising awareness, and that is what is going to help on a broader collective level.

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