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Category: Breast Cancer Lapel Pins

Ideas for Honoring Our Veterans

act-veterans-saluteVeterans Day is incredibly important to me.  Thanking our veterans for their incredible service is one of my most important missions.  In fact, I was the National Commander for the DAVA, the year I founded A Creative Touch.  Volunteer work and advocacy for our servicemen and women is still a large part of my life today; I volunteer 2-3 days per week, and I am always inspired by the courage and commitment of our veterans.  I encourage others to get involved, too!

Since Veterans Day, which honors all service members, is just around the corner, there are several ways you can celebrate our military:

  • Observe Veterans Day on November 11th by attending services and events in your local community.
  • Volunteer with your local VA facility or donate to the VA here .
  • Document and learn about veteran service through the Veterans History Project, a Library of Congress program that collects and archives oral histories (interviews) from veterans. You can even volunteer to gather histories from your local veterans, if you are a student in the 10th grade or higher. Many Eagle Scouts participate in this program, so inquire with your local troop if your child is an Eagle Scout. If you are a parent, teacher, librarian, scout guide, or involved in an organization for children and teens, this website also has resources to highlight the importance of Veterans’ Day to future generations.
  • For younger students, the “Take A Veteran to School Day” program-created by the History Channel-is an opportunity to increase awareness about Veterans’ Day but bringing a veteran to your school to speak to a class or student assembly.
  • The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Foundation has created a campaign called “Return the Favor,” which allows volunteers to leave virtual thank you notes to veterans, volunteers to donate to VFW efforts, and lists special events organized by the VFW.
  • Another way to volunteer for our veterans is by¬†contacting organizations that provide care packages and other items to individual veterans and VA clinics. As one elderly veteran told the Lincoln (NE) JournalStar newspaper, a care package shows that “somebody cares” about them.
  • Operation Gratitude is an organization that delivers care packages to active duty military overseas and was the first organization to send care packages to our veterans at home. As founder Carolyn Blashek says here, “it is never too late to say thank you” to our veterans for their sacrifices. One of Operation Gratitude’s programs is a monthly care package service–you can send one veteran of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War one care package every month! You can also write a letter to a veteran as an individual or group.
  • Create a blanket for a veteran with Soldiers’ Angels “Blankets of Gratitude” program. Visit their website for instructions on how to knit a blanket for a veteran and join their Sewing Team.
  • Donate toys, services, and funds to Operation Homefront, an organization that provides a variety of services to active duty military, veterans, and their families.
  • You can also organize an independent local effort through your church, employer, or other organization. For example, employees of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences program created their own care packages for veterans at a Little Rock facility. Working with the Red Cross, local school children, and raising over six hundred dollars of their own funds, these employees created 125 care packages, a video tribute, and even held a Veterans Education and Benefits fair “where 20 veterans’ organizations and agencies were on hand to answer questions about retirement and health benefits, education opportunities, counseling and other issues.”¬† If your company or organization decides to take on a care package project, A Creative Touch can help with the selection of items to include.

Please join me in celebrating veterans in your community this year!

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Ribbon Awareness Lapel Pins

act-ribbon-awarenessPerhaps the most popular lapel pins available today are ribbon awareness lapel pins.¬† If you were around in the ’70s, then you must remember the huge Tony Orlando and Dawn hit, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.¬† This is my earliest recollection of a ribbon awareness pin, but the tradition dates back much further than that.¬† ¬†

The origin of yellow ribbons as a token of remembrance goes back to the 19th century when women allegedly wore a yellow ribbon in their hair to signify their devotion to a husband or sweetheart serving in the U.S. Cavalry.

Of course, these days, yellow ribbons are joined with ribbons of every color of the rainbow.¬† Many groups, organizations and foundations have adopted ribbons to represent their causes.¬† Often, ribbons have multiple meanings or causes attached to them, making it difficult to create a comprehensive and fully accurate list.¬† But, we’ve attempted to identify some of the most common awareness lapel pins:

Pink ribbons are most commonly associated with breast cancer awareness and childhood cancer awareness.

Yellow ribbons signify support of our troops, but they can also serve as a symbol for MIA/POW, adoptive parents, amber alerts, bladder cancer, spina bifida, and endometriosis. A yellow ribbon with a heart is used to represent the survivors left behind after a suicide.

Red ribbons are most commonly affiliated with the fight against AIDS and HIV.  This ribbon color is also a symbol for heart disease, stroke, substance abuse, MADD, DARE, Epidermolysis Bullosa, and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

A burgundy ribbon¬†represents brain aneurysms, Cesarean sections (worn upside down), headaches, hemangioma, vascular malformation, hospice care, multiple myeloma, William’s syndrome, Thrombophilia, Antiphospholid Antibody Syndrome, and adults with disabilities.

Purple ribbons are used for pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, domestic violence, ADD, alzheimer’s, religious tolerance, animal abuse, the victims of 9/11, Crohn’s disease and colitis, cystic fibrosis, lupus, leimyosarcoma, and fibromyalgia.

Blue ribbons are used to symbolize the fight against drunk driving, child abuse prevention, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), the victims of hurricane Katrina, dystonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alopecia, Education, Epstein-Barr Virus, Save the Music and many other causes. 

Dark blue ribbons symbolize arthritis, child abuse prevention, victim’s rights, free speech, water quality, and water safety.

A light blue ribbon is a symbol of childhood cancer (alternative color: pink), prostate cancer, Trisomy 18, and scleroderma.

Teal ribbons are used for ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers as well as sexual assault, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and tsunami victims.

The color green (green ribbon) is a symbol of childhood depression, missing children, open records for adoptees, environmental concerns, kidney cancer, tissue/organ donation, homeopathy, and worker and driving safety.

Orange is the ribbon color used to represent leukemia, hunger, cultural diversity, humane treatment of animals, and self-injury awareness.

White ribbons honor victims of terrorism, violence against women, peace, right to life, bone cancer, adoptees, and retinal blastoma.

A pearl ribbon is a symbol for emphysema, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and multiple sclerosis.

 Black ribbons represent mourning, melanoma, and gang prevention.

Brown ribbons are an anti-tobacco symbol.

Grey ribbons stand for diabetes, asthma, and brain cancer.

Silver ribbons are used to represent children with disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and mental illnesses such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Gold ribbons are a symbol for childhood cancer.

If you’ve ever seen a ribbon made of fabric that resembles a jigsaw puzzle, you are looking at a symbol for autism.¬† See our blog post, Pinning it Forward.

Rainbow ribbons represent gay pride and support for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender community and their quest for equal rights.

Lace ribbons are a symbol for osteoporosis.

Pink and blue ribbons represent miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death due to SIDS or other causes.

Flag ribbons are a symbol for both the victims and heros of the 9/11 attacks. They also symbolize patriotism and support of our troops.  Appropriately, flag ribbons are also a symbol of fireworks safety.

No matter which lapel pin ribbon color you choose to represent awareness for a meaningful cause, we hope you will not only wear it with pride, but use it as a way to start conversations that lead to prevention, cures, and hope.

Pinning Celebs on the Red Carpet

act-red-carpetDid you catch the Golden Globes last week?¬† Do you just love watching those celebs parade down the red carpet in their designer gowns and tuxes?¬† Did you know that lapel pins have their place on the red carpet?¬† There are actually people who work the red carpet ‘pinning’ celebrities in an effort to bring attention to their worthy causes.

We found an account from one of those “pin people” that give an inside look at what happens behind the scenes on the red carpet.¬† Joyce Aschenbrenner of the Jimmy V Foundation has worked at four ESPY Award Ceremonies (which commemorate the past year’s best sports stories by recognizing major achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances).¬† Her interaction with sports celebrities and Hollywood stars on the Red Carpet at the Kodak Theater is both funny and inspiring.

You can read her full account here.  Meanwhile, here are some of our favorite parts:

“For one day every year, I have the amazing opportunity to step back into the razzle and dazzle of sports and be part of the annual ESPYs.

The press tent is run by ESPN PR staffers — it’s a real zoo with a mixture of sports and entertainment media. The show itself and everything connected to it is produced by Hollywood professionals and huge army of ESPN staffers coordinating every aspect of this tremendous operation — it’s an amazing behind the scenes experience.

My job, be it ever so humble, is to “pin” the celebrities on the red carpet. Don’t laugh.

The Hollywood types hate that we do it — they say we “hold up” their red carpet experience (not true). So, every year, a few brave ESPN colleagues and I steel ourselves against the abuse of the Hollywood handlers, self-important headset wearing “supervisors” (not sure what, exactly they supervise) and legion of Gestapo-like security guards to man (er. . ., WOman) the ESPY red carpet and pin the celebrities.

Exit the Real World.

The basic concept (I have perfected this technique over the past four years) — have a pin in the ready-position, stakeout the opportunity and blurt out as quickly as you can before a handler whisks the celebrity away — “The V Foundation for Cancer Research is the official charity of the ESPY Awards will you wear our pin tonight?”. . .get that pin onto the lapel and clear out of the way.

It’s about 120 degrees on the red carpet thanks to the California afternoon sun and a flaming red carpet that reflects not only the sun, but the megawatts of television lights all pointed directly at that carpet.. My first year I snidely laughed at Joan Rivers who had an assistant stand there and point a little fan directly on her every moment she was off camera.

Joan Rivers is a very wise woman.

You drip like a wet mop for three hours.

On one side the carpet is lined deep with bleachers jammed with screaming fans, an announcer constantly working this group into a crazed frenzy. On the opposite side of the red carpet is The Media — jammed little roped-off areas for the big entertainment shows and then six-deep photographers behind security ropes — you think football sideline photographers can be a pain? Yowsa.

The Hollywood paparazzi guys are crazy! They scream and yell at the celebrities to look this way and that way; they boo and hiss if a celeb doesn’t stop and pose. Add into that mix smaller TV shows, radio people, etc. behind the ropes thrusting microphones and barking at the celebs (“Brandy! Over Here!”). . .(“Vince! Inside Edition!”).

My cohorts and I — this year Rachel Mack from ESPN and Amy Lupo and Katie Moses from the X-Games — slip in and out of the craziness trying to be as invisible as possible. If you don’t directly pin the person, the pin never makes it to the lapel.

If you’ve seen the women’s ESPY attire on TV you know why we rarely pin women (but that’s another story. . .). The pins are important to The Foundation — it’s an unparalled opportunity for visibility. The added bonus, the pins show up in pictures used throughout the year (e.g. Nick Lachey during the divorce — the same picture of Nick and Jessica from the ESPYs was reprinted repeatedly in magazines and there was my little gold “V” on Nick’s lapel ). Sorry about the divorce, but LOVE the picture. . .

That’s the why and how of red carpet “pinning.”

Katie and Amy posted themselves inside the security tent (the celebrities have to go through airport- like screening before they enter the red carpet) — Rachel caught the people that they missed at the beginning of the carpet and I caught the rest further down. It still thrills me to watch an ESPY show and see our little V pins on the lapels of sports stars and celebrities.

The willingness of so many famous, uber-famous (and not-so-famous) people to wear our pin still humbles me. Many stop and give a quick “I knew Jimmy V” or “I still remember Jimmy V running around the court looking for somebody to hug” or “I watched him give that ESPY speech when I was a kid” and that’s heartwarming to know so many people still have fond memories of Jim.

Some, like Dr. J, come over to be “pinned” without asking — his annual pinning “bear hug” is something I cherish. I’ve pinned LeBron James the year he came alone as a high school honoree and this year when he had two Hummer limos full of his “guys” (biggest entourage to date).

Sometimes you just stand back in awe — Janet Jackson is absolutely stunning. Or shock — Ben Stiller is a very small man; Lara Flynn Boyle was unimaginably beyond skinny. Serena Williams is as friendly as your girlfriend from high school. The guys from Entourage were cute and crazy and funny, just as they appear to be on TV.

Mostly, it moves so quickly, there’s no time to be star-struck. The handlers frantically rushed Patrick Dempsey through, but he graciously paused quickly enough to get a pin through his lapel. A huge scream went up from the crowd. I didn’t even realize that he was kissing me on the cheek when I pinned him, but the women in the bleachers went wild at the gesture. Oh. . .My. . .God. . . McDreamy kissed me.

Ben Rothlisberger was being “held up” for Entertainment Tonight so we stood there making small talk; I mentioned that my entire family is rabid Steeler fans and that my niece Megan would die if she knew I was “just hanging” with Big Ben. He glanced at my cell phone and smiled. He spent the next several minutes talking long-distance to Megan. “OK Megan, nice talking to you but I’ve gotta go – Mary Hart is ready for me. . .”

Say what you want about Terrell Owens, but every year he stops for the pin and wears it throughout the night so he’s OK in my book. Whether it’s Dwayne Wade or Peyton Manning onstage, or the Little League champs who get a quick camera shot from their seats, the fact that they’ll wear our little V pin continues to give me an enormous sense of pride….

Thanks to Joyce Aschenbrenner for giving us an inside scoop on the role of lapel pins and lapel pinners on the red carpet.¬† We must confess that we’re a little bit jealous of the kiss from McDreamy!¬† We have to agree that we’d sweat like a wet mop on the red carpet for three hours and brave those nasty Hollywood handlers if we could have a dreamy kiss from Patrick Dempsey too!

How to Make a Lapel Pin

Ever wonder how custom lapel pins are made?¬† You’ll be surprised at all of the work (much of it done by hand!)¬†that goes into making these miniature pieces of wearable art….


20 Reasons for Lapel Pins

Flag lapel pinI love lapel pins because they an unobtrusive and tasteful way to make a statement about your beliefs, affiliations, and values.

These hard-working little metal billboards are one of the most low-cost, yet effective ways to deliver a message. They’re also excellent conversation starters, instant builders of camaraderie, and strong visual messages.  Looking for a reason to wear a lapel pin? I’ve got plenty for you.

You can wear a lapel pin to:

20. Dress Up or Decorate Your Lapel
19. Brag About Receiving Special Employee Recognition or a Prestigious Award
18. Identify Your Membership in a Fraternity or a Sorority
17. Demonstrate Your Affiliation with a Professional Organization
16. Support a Charity or a Cause
15. Cheer for a Sports Team
14. Show Your Holiday Spirit
13. Commemorate an Anniversary
12. Celebrate Your First Parachute Jump, Kayaking Adventure, or Yoga Retreat
11. Show That You’ve Joined a Club
10. Break the Ice at a Networking Event
9. Promote Your Business
8. Create Awareness About Breast Cancer, AIDS, Autism, etc.
7. Prove That You’ve Been to a Museum, the Hard Rock Café, Disneyworld, etc.
6. Encourage Pin Collectors and Traders to Trade with You
5. Promote a Sale, a Special Promotion, or an Upcoming Event
4. Identify Yourself as a Conference or Trade Show Attendee
3. Show Your Loyalty to a Branch of the Military or a Civic Organization
2 Advertise Your Interests, Hobbies, and Beliefs
1. Show Your Patriotism

So what are you waiting for? Give me a call and we’ll help you design your own personal lapel pin billboard today!

Tell us all about your special lapel pin story! Fill in our Online Form or print out a Paper Form and mail it to us.

Click here to email your lapel pin photo.

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