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Our History

It all started in 1993 at Evelyn Lauder’s kitchen table. 

Over a cup of coffee, Mrs. Lauder and her dear friend Dr. Larry Norton began a conversation that would, over time, change breast cancer history. Recognizing the power of research and its potential to change the lives of millions of women and men worldwide, they realized that to tackle this disease a new approach was critical.
 

At the time, a breast cancer diagnosis inspired fear and little hope. Scientific understanding of the nature of the disease and how it moved through the body was still nascent. Investigations on prevention strategies were fledgling, screening methods were limited and treatment options were few. 
 

Mrs. Lauder, along with Dr. Norton and her husband, Leonard, committed then and there to change that. They believed research was the way forward and founded BCRF on the belief that funding was the only obstacle standing between breast cancer and a cure. 
 

Years before, Mrs. Lauder was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and chose to channel her experience into action. A model of resolve, she took it upon herself in 1989 to help establish a state-of the-art breast and diagnostic center at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she was a board member.  The facility, known today as the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, set a new global standard for cancer care offering the most up-to-date prevention, diagnosis and treatment services under one roof. 
 

In that same year, Mrs. Lauder created the signature pink ribbon with Alexandra Penney, then editor of SELF and launched the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign within The Estée Lauder Companies. The program distributed the ribbons, along with self-exam instruction cards, at Estée Lauder counters across the United States and around the world, helping to raise awareness about the importance of breast health and effectively placing breast cancer at the public forefront. 
 

Since then, Evelyn Lauder’s life’s mission has become ours: to rid the world of breast cancer. Today, BCRF stands as a testament to her fierce dedication, keen intuition and extraordinary vision. 

 

Evelyn H. Lauder, 1936 – 2011
BCRF Founder