NEW YORK — With the growing number of beauty firms participating in the philanthropic efforts of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — and intensifying their own individual efforts — October’s already pink hue is growing ever deeper.

The Estée Lauder Cos., for instance, has distributed pink ribbons and informational materials at retail counters — and donated a portion of the proceeds from select products to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation — for 10 years. In that time, the BCRF has raised more than $70 million to fund clinical and genetic research on breast cancer.

“Each year, we are able to find new, even more creative ways to continue our fight against this disease,” said Evelyn H. Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Cos. and founder of the BCRF.

As part of an ongoing effort this year, the Estée Lauder Cos. partnered with the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., to kick off the fourth annual Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative. By bathing some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks in pink light — like the Empire State Building, Graceland and the Royal Opera House in London — the initiative aims to raise awareness of breast cancer. On Oct. 1, the night the mall was first illuminated, Evelyn Lauder, along with Estée Lauder spokesmodel Elizabeth Hurley, attended a gala at the mall. They later headed to the facility’s parking lot to participate in the first annual Ribbon of Light Campaign, an effort to complement the Illumination Initiative.

“Imagine seeing a huge glowing pink ribbon of light illuminating in the darkness,” Lauder said. “Now imagine that the ribbon is actually made up of thousands of candles or flashlights or glowsticks, each held by someone who cares passionately about helping us wipe breast cancer off the face of the Earth.And finally, imagine hundreds of these ‘human’ ribbons uniting on Oct. 1 to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in all locations across the globe. That’s our goal for the ribbon of light.” More than 1,000 people formed the ribbon in the mall’s parking lot that night.

The next day, Lauder and Hurley hosted a breakfast at the mall’s branch of Nordstrom, where they joined Bob Middlemas, executive vice president and regional manager for the Midwest for Nordstrom, and 75 VIP customers. “I’m sure, like me, you feel enormously proud to be a part of this effort,” Hurley told the crowd at Nordstrom. “We all know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, and it’s important that we continue to work toward finding a cure.”The pair later made personal appearances at Bloomingdale’s, where even beauty consultants from competing stores showed up, and at Macy’s, where exclusive T-shirts and lipsticks were sold. “It’s been our privilege to partner with a number of the Estée Lauder Cos. divisions to raise awareness and funds to support this valuable research,” said Ed Beuchel, general manager of the Macy’s door at the Mall of America.

After leaving Minneapolis, Lauder traveled to Washington, D.C., where she attended another Estée Lauder-sponsored event and participated in another Ribbon of Light ceremony, this time at Hecht’s, with about 200 people.

The Estée Lauder Cos. also invited colleges and universities across the country to participate in the Ribbon of Light campaign and encouraged the schools to distribute pink ribbons and Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign bookmarks. Cornell, Harvard and Princeton were among the 27 participating universities.

As well, most of Estée Lauder’s divisions — including Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Estée Lauder, La Mer, Origins and Stila — all sold products benefiting the BCRF.

During the month of October, Aveda donated $1 from the sale of each product in its All-Sensitive line, while Bobbi Brown donated a portion of the sales from its Tulle Lip Color and Rose Sugar Shimmer Lip Gloss. Clinique created a special pink metallic lip palette of 10 of its best-selling shades in a limited-edition mirrored case, while Estée Lauder offered three special products: the Pink Ribbon Compact, the Pink Ribbon Pin and the Pink Ribbon Lipstick Traveler. La Mer made a donation to the foundation for every 2-oz. jar of Crème de la Mer it sold and Origins donated $1 from the sale of every A Perfect World Intensely Hydrating Body Cream with white tea or A Perfect World Highly Hydrating Body Lotion with white tea.Stila’s limited-edition Breast Cancer Awareness Lip Glaze Compact was decorated with a pink ribbon and contained four mint-scented lip glazes “created for the cause.”

At the beginning of the month, all divisions of the Estée Lauder Cos. joined together for a fund-raising effort called the Sale-a-Bration. Held in Lauder’s New York headquarters, the event gave employees a chance to buy deeply discounted products from each of the company’s divisions, with all profits going to the BCRF.Always a big money-maker for breast cancer awareness, Avon has been raising money to fight the disease since 1955 and in 1992 the company initiated the Avon Breast Cancer Research Crusade. Since the Crusade began, Avon has raised more than $250 million to support breast cancer research and care organizations around the world through product sales, walks, concerts and special events.

This year, Avon held its third annual Avon Foundation awards event at Tavern on the Green. The Oct. 14 event, fittingly titled Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer, raised more than $2.3 million.

Part of the funds were raised through a silent auction that included tickets to events like the MTV Video Awards, a Simon and Garfunkel concert and the U.S. Open. Tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams donated tennis outfits while limited edition bags designed by Debbie Brooks were also available for bid.

Brian Connolly, vice president of the Avon Foundation, served as a cheerleader for the auction and urged attendees to reach for their corporate checkbooks. The crowd of about 900 was also treated to an acoustic performance by pop singer Jewel.

Throughout the evening, Serena Williams was honored with the Celebrity Role Model award and Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Program, was given the Medical Advancement Award for her investigation into the biology of breast cancer.Randi Rosenberg accepted an award on behalf of the Young Survival Coalition, a network of breast cancer survivors dedicated to the issues unique to young women and breast cancer. Other honorees included Gwen Darien, publisher and editor in chief of MAMM magazine, Avon Pink Ribbon Crusader Nancy Utech and her daughter Carole Utech. Barbara Jo Kirshbaum of Upland, Calif., and Robin Steiner of Phoenix, Ariz., were also recognized for making large donations to the Crusade.

Avon representatives also kept busy in October selling seven selected products for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade collection.The collection included a black umbrella decorated with Avon Crusade’s signature pink ribbon for $7.50; a glossy, black vinyl cosmetics case with the pink ribbon for $5, and a 10-oz. white candle with a pink rose fragrance in a clear glass tumbler with the Crusade’s signature pink ribbon for $6.50. The Crusade collection also included the Crusade Brilliant Moisture Lip Color for $4 and a writing pen with a refillable black cartridge for $3. A 7-inch teddy bear with a pink ribbon T-shirt sold for $4.Avon sold three jewelry items in the collection: a pin available in two designs (satin-finished gold tone or silver tone) for $3, a quartz watch for $20 and a pendant necklace for $15.All of the Breast Cancer Crusade products are sold year-round, with new products introduced throughout the year. One hundred percent of the proceeds from product sales are donated to the Avon Foundation, a public charity dedicated to awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, treatment, support and services, and scientific research. The foundation’s beneficiaries range from cancer-care centers to community-based, nonprofit health programs.

Avon also held its Walk for Breast Cancer series in eight U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C. All of the net proceeds from the Avon walks were donated to breast cancer research, education, treatment and support services.

Another event, The Revlon Run/Walk for Women, is probably one of the most well-known walks dedicated to breast cancer awareness. It’s held annually in May in New York and Los Angeles and has raised more than $25 million, but Revlon’s contributions don’t stop there. Throughout October, a portion of the proceeds from five Revlon Kiss for the Cure lipstick shades was donated to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, a grass-roots organization that supports education programs and works to change breast cancer-related public policies.

Three of the five shades — Winning Roses, Courageous Crimson and Resilient Raisin — were limited-edition shades and were sold with the other Kiss for the Cure shades, Sweetwater Pink and Mauve So Moist, at mass drugstores nationwide. For each of the five shades sold in October, Revlon donated $1 to the fund.

Mary Kay has been involved in fund-raising for cancer research since 1987, and in 1996 established the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that provides research money for cancers affecting women, including breast cancer. Recipients of Mary Kay Ash corporate donations include the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund, The Breast Cancer Fund and the American Cancer Society.

While large companies raised money by the millions, smaller companies did their part, too.

In 2002, Philosophy raised $60,000 for the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, and with a new partnership with QVC, Cristina Carlino, the creator and chief executive officer of Philosophy, hopes to raise that number to $500,000 in 2003.“Breast cancer is every woman’s cause,” Carlino said.That’s why she designed Remember, a tangerine milk-based shower gel, especially for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Carlino decorated the 16-oz. bottle with a pink ribbon and “Unforgettable,” a poem she wrote for women who have experienced breast cancer.Remember is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, and for $20. All of Remember’s net profits are donated to the WCRF year-round.

Tweezerman adorned its most popular tweezers with the distinctive pink ribbon and donated 50 cents from the sale of each Pink Ribbon Slant Tweezer to programs dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, including Cancercare, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free professional help to people with all cancers through counseling, education, information and referral and direct financial assistance.

Del Laboratories, the manufacturer of Sally Hansen products, has been donating to the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund for six years. Baldwin, mother of the Baldwin brothers of acting fame, is a breast cancer survivor and activist.

“Carol Baldwin approached us in the very beginning in her efforts to establish the fund,” said Bill McMenemy, executive vice president of marketing for Del Laboratories. “We were impressed by her struggle with the disease and with her sincerity in funding research to find a cure for a disease that is so devastating for the many women and families around us.” To help the cause, Del developed six shades of Sally Hansen nail polish for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each bottle is decorated with a removable pin-on pink ribbon and each shade of pink is named especially for breast cancer awareness: Brave, Dignified, Powerful, Self-Confident, Strong and Vital.The Pink Ribbon products are only sold in drugstores throughout October, but McMenemy said Del participates in other events and fundraisers to benefit the fund on an ongoing basis. Del has raised more than $175,000 for the fund.

While Sephora sold many of the brands participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, like Philosophy, Clinique and Stila, the store sold its own Super Shimmer Think Pink Gloss for $10 and donated a portion of the proceeds to The Big Bam Foundation, an organization that provides mammograms, treatments and surgeries to uninsured and underinsured women under 40.

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