Evelyn Lauder, a breast cancer activist who helped create the Pink Ribbon campaign, has died. Lauder, 75, passed away Saturday at her Manhattan home from non-genetic ovarian cancer. She is survived by husband Leonard Lauder, the son of late cosmetics mogul Estee Lauder, and their two sons, William and Gary.
"My mother carried the torch of our Company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother, Mrs. Estée Lauder. My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners. They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estée Lauder Companies, and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength. Together my family and the company celebrate the beautiful person she was,” William Lauder said in a statement.
Evelyn wed Leonard Lauder in 1959 and joined the family’s cosmetic business. She had a long career with Estee Lauder Cosmetics and in 1992 she began to focus on raising awareness for breast cancer. Lauder had been diagnosed with the disease 3 years earlier, but she did not bring much attention to her own battle. Instead, Lauder put the attention on educating the public on breast cancer.
In 1992, Lauder and her close friend Alexandra Penney, the former Self editor-in-chief, created the Pink Ribbon campaign. The pink ribbon eventually became a symbol for the fight against the disease. It also led to Lauder and Penney starting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has raised more than $350 million.
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