What Is the Meaning of Purple Ribbon?

Many organizations have adopted the purple ribbon as a unifying symbol to convey messages of survival, courage, honor and dedication to a particular health issue or societal cause.


Among many groups and causes the purple ribbon represents are victims of domestic violence; abuse against domestic animals and wildlife; and victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including firefighters and police officers. The purple ribbon also represents trade union members killed, injured or disabled by their work.

Diseases and Conditions

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The purple ribbon represents those affected by conditions that include ADD, Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s disease, colitis, cystic fibrosis, lupus and fibromyalgia.


The Women’s Heart Foundation (WHF) adopted the purple ribbon in 2000 as an icon to raise awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women.


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The purple ribbon is publicly displayed as a sign of support on T-shirts, hats and bags, wrapped around trees, tied to car antennas, hung on doors or placed at homicide scenes.

Related Colors

Variations of the purple ribbon also represent certain groups or causes. Lavender ribbons represent cancer awareness, epilepsy and Rett syndrome, a disease of the nervous system. Periwinkle ribbons represent acid reflux, eating disorders and pulmonary hypertension. Violet ribbons represent Hodgkin’s lymphoma.