Awareness Wristbands and the Meaning Behind the Colors

Written by Michele Wheat

History of Awareness  Ribbons and Wristbands

Silicone wristbands have become synonymous with showing support for a cause, raising awareness and generating funding. It all started in 2004 with a yellow silicone bracelet that read “LIVESTRONG.”  The bracelet was designed for the professional cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong.  The color yellow was selected to represent the color of the jersey worn by race leaders during the Tour de France.  The $1 silicone bracelet was used to raise funds to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Not only were cyclists wearing the band during the Tour de France, but celebrities were too.  The popularity of the yellow bracelet skyrocketed and as a result, millions of dollars were raised. The yellow bracelet quickly became a global icon for cancer support.  The simple messaging, affordable price and ability to help a noble cause produced astonishing results worldwide.

Before silicone wristbands, colored ribbons were used as a popular symbol of support.  It was a 19th-century practice that some women wore a yellow ribbon in their hair to signify their devotion to a husband or loved one serving in the U.S. Cavalry.  Songs about ribbons were also produced. Musicians Tony Orlando & Dawn recorded one of their biggest hits in 1973 called “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree.” This was just as the Vietnam War was winding down and many who had served were returning home, sadly in many cases, to mixed receptions.

Yellow ribbons regained popularity as a sign of support for the military during the Gulf War in the 1990s. Right around this time, lapel ribbon pins were worn to show support for a cause.  This was most evident in the early 1990s when the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, a group of artists from New York, wished to create a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with and caring for those diagnosed with AIDS. The color red was chosen for its connection to “blood and the idea of passion, both anger and love” and the red ribbon furthered symbolized the fight against AIDS. During the 1991 Tony Awards, actor Jeremy Irons wore a bright red ribbon on his lapel.  The media and public noticed the eye-catching ribbon and its popularity grew overnight.  The iconic red ribbon paved the way for many other awareness ribbon colors to represent a cause.  These simple lapel ribbon pins spoke volumes to people across the world cementing their place in activism and awareness for all causes. 

In 1991, Self Magazine created their inaugural Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. The publication featured guest editor Evelyn Lauder, the Senior Corporate Vice President of the cosmetics giant, Estee Lauder and a breast cancer survivor.  In 1992, Self Magazine teamed up with Estee Lauder again.   Using a light pink ribbon to symbolize the cause, over 1.5 million of them were handed out at Estee Lauder counters across the country that year, and the cause produced 200,000 pink petitions that urged the White House to put more funding into breast cancer research.  These light pink ribbons brought a community of people together for a common cause with astounding outcomes.

As with everything, trends change.  Soon ribbons and lapel pins were replaced with silicone wristbands, perceived as more hip and trendy.  These bracelets for a cause were no doubt popularized by the Livestrong Foundation started by Lance Armstrong.  But unlike the ribbons and lapel pins which would show their age and look worn, silicone wristbands are durable and resilient. These awareness wristbands’ continuing popularity is a testament to their simple style, durable quality and effectiveness as means of self-expression.

How Awareness Wristbands are Used Today 

People have moved on when it comes to the top of the line awareness product, instead of ribbons on trees, now you can create custom military remembrance bracelets or silver cancer armbands to show your support and wear them every day for years. You can customize your own wristbands such as a rainbow wristband for pride month. Whether you need an awareness bracelet for a cause or personalized army bracelets, we have all the colors and styles you could ever want. They are better than vistaprint silicone bracelets or anyone else! you can use a different color for every cause, so don't be afraid to get creative!

For-profit organizations can also benefit from wristbands with a message by using them as cheap fundraising ideas to leverage their brand, promote their services, advertise, and more.  The wristband’s affordable price allows companies to order them in large quantities and use them as giveaway items to employees and clients at tradeshows, events and much more. The custom made wristbands give businesses an opportunity to create their own design for specific purposes, as well as choose their own colors, font, message, image, logo, size and style.  People tend to wear wristbands long after an event is over, and if they like the design and cause, it can make for a long-lasting, low-cost marketing strategy that provides maximum company exposure to the public.

Silicone wristbands are the most popular choice for awareness purposes for a variety of reasons. They are lightweight yet durable and perfect for long-term use. And since our silicone bracelets have unlimited personalization options they are one of the best low-cost promotional items one can use to show unity and generate support/funding. We also offer cloth wristbands for awareness based events, but we don't have colored rope bracelets or 4 color combination bracelets. We do have triple color swirl options though. For the meaning of colored bracelets in high school, cool bracelet color combinations, color run wristbands, and questions like "what do the colors on a wish bracelet mean?" Please refer below the information below.

To wear a wristband in the color or design representative of an organization or cause further identifies the wearer as an advocate or affiliate of that same enterprise. These bracelets for a cause can aid in forming bonds amongst people that share the same values, and serve as a unifier connecting people committed to the same cause.  For example, light pick silicone bands represent breast cancer and women’s health.   A red silicone wristband may represent AIDS awareness, but also represents heart disease, stroke, DARE/substance abuse, and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).  Yellow gold represents childhood cancer causes and are considered cancer colors. 

Awareness Wristband Colors and Meanings 

Every color of the rainbow represents a cause and because there are so many causes and affiliations that are near and dear to so many, the following guide helps you choose the appropriate awareness color to  show your support or build awareness for your mission or cause.


LIGHT PINK - breast cancer, women’s health

HOT PINK - inflammatory breast cancer, cleft palate, gendercide

RED - heart disease, stroke, DARE/substance abuse, AIDS, MADD

MAROON - multiple myeloma, sickle cell disease, brain aneurysm 

ORANGE - kidney & leukemia cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, ASPCA, motorcycle safety, world hunger, self harm awareness

YELLOW - sarcoma & bone cancer, support our troops/POWs/MIA, suicide

YELLOW GOLD (AMBER) - childhood cancer

LIME GREEN – lymph nodes cancer

GREEN - gall bladder & liver cancer, cerebral palsy, organ donation, mental health, missing children, literacy, dwarfism

SEAFOAM GREEN - Celiac disease, speech impediments

TEAL - ovarian & cervical cancer, Tourette syndrome, food allergies

LIGHT BLUE - prostate cancer, men's health, foster care

CORNFLOWER (PERIWINKLE) BLUE - esophageal & stomach cancer

REFLEX BLUE - child abuse prevention, diabetes, bullying, Parkinson’s disease, water quality & safety

NAVY (DARK) BLUE - colon cancer, rectal cancer, arthritis, education, free speech

LAVENDER (ORCHID) - testicular cancer, epilepsy, cancer (all)

PURPLE - pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Lupus, domestic violence, overdose awareness, animal abuse/animal cruelty

VIOLET- Hodgkin’s lympoma

WHITE - lung cancer, adoption, blindness, hope & support

SAND (PEACH) - uterine & endometrial cancer, invisible illness

BROWN – smoking cessation

GREY - brain cancer & tumors, asthma

BLACK - skin cancer (melanomas), insomnia, anti-terrorism

SILVER - Schizophrenia


If you are uncertain about which band is right for you, our silicone buying guide can help!

Our wristbands are available in adult and youth sizes, a vast assortment of colors, as well as swirl and segmented bands.

MultiColored Awareness Wristbands and Meanings 

Segmented bands are often associated with various causes. Some of the more popular ones include:


RAINBOW - gay pride, marriage equality

BLACK/RED - Black Lives Matter


BLUE/YELLOW - Down Syndrome

GOLD/GREY - Dipg awareness


BLUE/RED/WHITE: patriotism, remembering 9/11

WHITE/BURGUNDY - Throat Cancer

As our culture around raising awareness has grown over the years, especially with the popularity of social media, the idea of celebrating, advocating and educating at certain times of the year has developed as well.  There are now entire weeks and months dedicated to learning and supporting various causes and their goals/missions around the world. Some of the countless causes commemorated by month include the following:



We tried to answer everything above but here are the common questions that we get.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is April autistic month?

    April is Autism Awareness Month; World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2nd.

  • Is there a brain cancer awareness month?

    May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month; National Gray Day takes place on May 27th. So make sure you support to build awareness and wear grey that day.

  • Is there a Prostate Cancer Awareness Month?

    National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed in September. The color light blue is often worn to signify support and raise awareness for prostate cancer, as well as men's health overall.

  • What color bracelet is for colon cancer?

    blue colored bracelet represents colon cancer, in addition to other cause and awareness purposes (including thyroid, diabetes, and anti-bullying, to name a few).

  • What color bracelet is for lung cancer?

    Lung cancer is represented by the white wristband color. White glow-in-the-dark bracelets can be used as well. Also, did you know that 1 in 16 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer within their life time.

  • What color is for glioblastoma?

    The color grey is recognized as the awareness color for all brain cancers, including glioblastoma. Gliomas is the most popular form of brain tumor/cancer.

  • What color is for Leukemia awareness?

    Orange is the color that is used to recognized the awareness for Leukemia. Many organizations host walks for Leukemia and everyone tends to wear as much orange as possible to support the awareness.

  • What color is the awareness for pancreatic cancer?

    The color purple is used to show awareness for Pancreatic cancer. So when you see purple ribbons and wristbands being worn it may be for pancreatic cancer.

  • What color is the cancer bracelet?

    There are a multitude of colors used to show support for specific forms of cancer (such as teal for ovarian and purple for pancreatic) but lavender is used most often to signify cancer in general, as well as cancers that don't already have an established color connection.

  • What color ribbon is for gallbladder cancer?

    The color green represents gall bladder cancer, as well as liver cancer. Some additional causes the color green is associated with includes mental health, literacy, and organ donation.

  • What color ribbon is for renal cell carcinoma?

    Orange is traditionally the color that represents Renal cell carcinoma otherwise known as kidney cancer. This is due to it being the most common form of kidney cancer. 

  • What color ribbon is ovarian cancer?

    The color teal is used to represent ovarian, as well as cervical, cancer. Teal is also the ptsd awareness color. 

  • What do the different colored wristbands mean?

    The color of a wristband often denotes support or awareness for a particular mission, cause, or organization affiliation. For example, an orange wristband can signify awareness of kidney cancer and leukemia, but it can also represent motorcycle safety, world hunger, and the ASPCA.

  • What does a blue wristband mean?

    Depending on the shade, blue wristbands represent a variety of causes. Reflex blue signifies support for diabetes, anti-bullying, and Parkinson's disease; light blue denotes prostate cancer and men's health; cornflower blue represents esophageal and stomach cancer; navy blue is symbolic of colon cancer and arthritis.

  • What does a red wristband stand for?

    Red wristbands show support of many different causes including heart disease, stroke, disaster relief, DARE/substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and MADD.

  • What does a white band mean?

    A white band represents many causes due to the fact that the color white tends to correlate with hope. The awareness efforts include lung cancer, adoption, blindness, hope, supportm, and more!

  • What does purple wristband mean?

    purple wristband is used to show support and raise awareness for many different things. Some of them include pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, Lupus, and domestic violence.

  • What does the yellow wristband stand for?

    yellow wristband stands for support of many causes including our troops/POWs/MIA, suicide prevention, and missing persons. It also represents many health-related concerns such as bone cancer, spina bifida, and endometriosis, to name a few.

  • What does wearing a black bracelet mean?

    solid black bracelet can represent support for skin cancer (melanomas), insomnia, and anti-terrorism. A black/red segmented bracelet represents support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Black can also be used for custom military remembrance bracelets. 

  • What does wearing a pink bracelet mean?

    Wearing a light pink bracelet often means support of breast cancer awareness, but it also signifies women's health in general. Wearing a hot pink bracelet often means support of inflammatory breast cancer awareness, as well as cleft palate and gendercide.

  • What is the awareness color for bone cancer?

    Bone cancer (i.e. sarcoma) is represented by the color yellow. Furthermore, bone canncer is a very rare form of cancer making up less then one percent of all cancers.

  • What is the color for prostate cancer?

    The color light blue signifies prostate cancer awareness.

  • What Pink is for breast cancer?

    Light pink is typically used to represent breast cancer support, but hot pink is a popular choice as well. Also, did you know that October is breast cancer awaerness month? This is why you see sports athletes and performers wear pink during October.