“Our breasts will never be the same again.” 3 ‘ordinary’ women design new ribbon for Pink Ribbon | Instagram HLN

Pink Ribbon’s iconic pink ribbon has been a sign of solidarity with all women fighting breast cancer for years. That ribbon has been given a completely new look, conceived by Kim, Ann and Nathalie: they were also diagnosed themselves and had to learn to embrace their new breasts. It is this quest that inspired their special design. “It takes time to accept that new body.”

It is already the eighth pink ribbon that Pink Ribbon is releasing. In recent years, the honor of breathing new life into the iconic symbol has gone to a stylist or artist. Like last year, to Princess Delphine of Saxe-Coburg who for a ribbon with extra ‘love’ chose. This time, because Pink Ribbon is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, the organization is opting for a completely new path: all women who were diagnosed with breast cancer could submit a proposal for a new design.



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At the beginning of this year, Pink Ribbon sent out a call. “We want to give the floor to the people who have experienced the disease. Man or woman. Young or old. We are looking for you as a fellow sufferer to shape the ribbon.” Dozens of responses quickly poured in. “We received about seventy submissions,” says Hilde Debackere, Managing Director. “The stories that accompanied those designs were very moving. The idea that there are no two identical breasts and that all breasts — including the injured one — are normal emerged in three proposals. We merged them into this ribbon for 2022.”

(Read more below the photo.)

The new ribbon. © Pink Ribbon

What was striking: in their stories, the women did not shy away from the dark sides of breast cancer, Pink Ribbon says. That’s why the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘it’s not all about pink’: the reality is a lot less rosy than the pink ribbon sometimes makes it seem. “Messages of hope and support will always be a big part of our activities,” says Hilde. “But we’re not closing our eyes to the harsh reality of a disease that currently affects some 100,000 women — and men — in our country. By giving them the pen or brush, their trials become part of the ribbon.”



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The story of Nathalie, Kim and Ann: “These new breasts don’t make us less women”

Bigger, smaller, pointer, rounder, with scars or without: all breasts are beautiful, according to Nathalie Biltresse, Kim Timmermans and Ann Vermeylen, the three ladies who see their idea reflected in the new ribbon. “I saw Pink Ribbon’s call to my doctor,” says Ann. She has already had 14 surgeries to treat her tumor and reconstruct her breast. “I myself carry a bag on which all kinds of bosoms are depicted. But those are intact, while the breasts in my design have ups and downs.”

(Read more below the photo.)

(left to right) Ann, Kim and Nathalie. © Pink Ribbon

Kim designed a ribbon together with her daughter. “Because we also experienced my entire journey together. I am now more aware than ever that my family is the most important. That I have to enjoy what is there, even if it seems so obvious.” She worked with a white ribbon, which symbolizes a new beginning: a blank page that she had to describe as ‘new’ Kim. Her breasts in the drawing have scars. “We don’t think much about this during treatment, but our breasts will never be the same again. It takes time to accept that new body. But those new breasts don’t make us any less women.”

Natalie the intention was to break taboos with her ribbon. “I’ve had enough of all the statements that downplay the cancer and urge me to ‘rebuild’ my life. ‘Real’ statements and illustrations of breasts ‘damaged’ by the disease inspired me. They are not for stopping. Breast cancer is not shameful: anyone who goes through it remains a beautiful person.”

How do you get a ribbon?

As of today, everyone can buy and wear the new ribbon (points of sale can be found here). You pay 4 euros for it, 2.80 euros of which goes to projects with which Pink Ribbon supports patients and gives a boost to breast cancer prevention and detection. Pink Ribbon has collected all other ribbon designs and their accompanying stories on the online platform ‘Support a ribbon’. If you want, you can support one or more ribbons with a donation, which also goes to the same Pink Ribbon projects.

Also read:

A first for HEMA: first bra specially designed for cancer patients

André got breast cancer 25 years ago. “At the gynecologist they called me ‘Mrs. Pauwels’ several times” (+)

“On the left I have a female body, on the right I am a boy.” Ozanne lost one breast to cancer, the other one will be taken away over time (+)

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The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: breasts ordinary women design ribbon Pink Ribbon Instagram HLN

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