A great question came up today on The Linden Fund's Facebook page, which I have questioned as well, and I know many others have too.
Where did this purple ribbon for "prematurity awareness" pop up from all of a sudden? Where did the pink and blue concept go? Why is one agency using purple and others pink and blue? In case it's not obvious, we premature parents focus on the little things as soon as our little premature children hit the scene. Little things matter.
If you look around the world at all the prematurity awareness agencies and campaigns-you will mostly see the colours pink and blue. Then this year purple appeared in a wave as each country went into the dark hours of the night on November 17. Purple in Toronto, Purple in Niagara Falls, Purple in NYC, Purple in Disneyland! Purple throughout South America, Istanbul, Italy, Ireland, Australia...you name it, many chose to get in on the display of purple during the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth Global Illumination Initiative. Did you know that's what it was called? Purple was present last year for World Prematurity Day as well, but on a much quieter level.
How is it possible the choice of purple swept over the world? Excellent marketing management, I would say. Strong outreach and communication across the world with other partners, such as those in the Global Alliance, working hard to decrease birth defects, preterm labour and delivery, and infant mortality. March of Dimes does this. After what I would call a simple "re-brand", they started using the purple ribbon in recent years after many years using the pink and blue as their preference for birth defect and prematurity awareness.
If you look at the March of Dimes' website, the ribbon pin for sale is called "March of Dimes Awareness Pin," not the "prematurity awareness pin." <Click the link for a pic. March of Dimes focuses on the health and well-being of the mother during prenatal care, as well as the health of premature and term infants. I'd say their purple ribbon encompasses the overall health and wellness of mothers and babies--not just based on prematurity alone.
Other prematurity support agencies use purple, green, pink or blue, or blue and gold in their own specifically designed Prematurity Awareness pins or materials. I kind of like that many countries take on their own unique style and prefence when choosing their awareness pins.
As we are well aware, March of Dimes in the United States has a preference for purple.
Little Big Souls in Africa prefers purple for wrist bands and blue, gold and white for other awareness items.
European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) likes purple.
National Premmie Foundation of Australia has gone with purple and green.
Irish Premature Babies uses pink, blue and white.
Now, I am writing from Canada...just outside Toronto. On Saturday night I went down to Toronto to see our beautiful CN Tower lit up in purple. In Canada there is no one, strong and well-funded formal organization that works with those impacted by preterm birth or the aftercare of preterm babies. We have The Linden Fund, which I refer to often (and I LOVE), but they are no March of Dimes or larger organization. Sadly, I didn't hear a peep out of our media until after all of Toronto wondered why the CN Tower turned purple on Sunday night. As I walked through downtown Toronto, I heard several people wonder aloud, "why is it purple tonight?" There was a little bit of news leading up to it, apparently, but not much. This fact is seriously disappointing to me. In a country this size, with this many people and a serious need for population replacement, nobody seemed to know about the importance of Saturday, November 17--aka World Prematurity Day.
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