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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2011 Wrapped Up in Pink Ribbons


GE Global Pink Ribbon in Yogiakarta, Indonesia


In Argentina, 18 GE Healthcare employees form their human pink ribbon


GE and Danone employees in Brazil united to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer

For the 31 days of October, the world marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) by drawing attention to the issues surrounding the disease: early detection, research, treatment and the importance of working together to find new ways of overcoming a form of cancer that kills half a million women every year. BCAM may be a month-long event, but breast cancer doesn’t take time off.

What are the highlights and memorable images from this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month from GE offices around the world? We’ve discovered through GE’s Is My Cancer Different?™campaign how molecular imaging is helping physicians treat cancer with greater specificity and efficiency, while the partnership of GE and the Susan G. Komen For The Cure foundation is showing what can be achieved when organizations and individuals work together towards a common goal — better access to cancer diagnosis equipment.

We also witnessed the global reach of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as GE employees from multiple offices in 25 countries came together to create ‘human pink ribbons’, representing the inclusivity of the entire cause and paying homage to the international symbol of breast cancer awareness. GE employees embraced BCAM, resulting in a final total of 39 human pink ribbons, far exceeding the target number.

GE Healthcare’s participation with Breast Cancer Awareness Month ties in to GE’s own healthymagination and HealthAhead  initiatives, both of which are committed to increasing access to healthcare for people all over the world and improving the health of GE employees. 

All around the world

For GE, Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in spectacular fashion in Hungary. For the tenth consecutive year, Budapest’s Chain Bridge was bathed in pink light to mark BCAM, drawing attention to the importance of early detection and widespread screening programs.

GE Indonesia has been hard at work organizing a whole range of events, including a ‘Pink Walk’ in the cities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta, three human pink ribbons (involving nearly 500 people), a breast cancer seminar attended by over 100 people, and 10 GE runners in the 2011 Jakarta Race Against Cancer — a yearly 10 kilometer and 5 kilometer run that raises money for cancer education and prevention.

In Paris, two events took place on different dates: first a discussion at the Marie Curie Institute focusing on the past, present and future of breast cancer detection and treatment, then a human pink ribbon formed beneath the Eiffel Tower. Also in Europe, GE Germany hosted two presentations by breast cancer expert Karin Samorra, one in the city of Solingen and another in Berlin. The Solingen event was attended by 25 people in person and more than a hundred more joining via the internet. GE staff formed a human ribbon and released pink balloons to mark BCAM, while similar events took place in Berlin.

In the UK, over 100 people attended an event at the Grove Centre, GE’s Life Sciences building in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Jumping to the other side of the world, in New Zealand a lucky coincidence allowed GE’s pink ribbon team members to be joined by entrepreneur Richard Branson, visiting for the Rugby World Cup and to meet victims of the earthquake that struck the country in February. GE employees in Australia also held their own human pink ribbon event.

Also in the Southern Hemisphere, GE employees in South Africa had great fun with a Zumba dance workout class before forming their own human pink ribbon. In South Africa, approximately 230,000 women and 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

Most recently, the BCAM spotlight turned to America. In Boston, employees at GE Energy in Billerica, Massachusetts, braved a cold but sunny day to stand together and form their own pink ribbon. Earlier in the month, GE Energy team members and their families joined in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Boston to raise funds for cancer research. Elsewhere in Boston,60 GE Healthcare employees also donned pink T-shirts and joined together to form their human pink ribbon.

Shifting focus further down the East Coast to New York State, Halloween-themed celebrations for BCAM took place in North Greenbush, where GE Healthcare held a pumpkin carving contest alongside their human pink ribbon.

Carnival ribbons

Heading further south to Mexico, a carnival atmosphere took hold among the 70 GE Healthcare employees who gathered on the roof terrace of GE Healthcare’s Samara Building in Santa Fe to form their human pink ribbon. In Brazil, 200 GE Healthcare team members — including friends, families, and employees of food giant Danone — got together in São Paulo for a fundraising jog.

To round off a month of breast cancer awareness around the world, 18 GE Healthcare Argentina employees held hands on the very last day of October in the bright Buenos Aires sunshine and created GE’s final BCAM pink ribbon for 2011.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have come to an end, but breast cancer itself does not. Efforts to find new and more effective ways of diagnosing and treating the disease continue all year, every year. Campaigns such as BCAM are important for maintaining momentum and ensuring due attention is given to the issues surrounding breast cancer, its treatment and, most importantly, the individuals affected by the disease.