Evelyn Lauder

by Natalie Ridge from San Diego, California in United States

124780Evelyn held many events to campaign for breast cancer. people.comEver since the founding of one organization, the breast cancer survival rate has improved from 75% to over 90% (BCACampaign). Breast cancer is a traumatic disease where cells sporadically produce and spread to certain body parts through blood vessels. Although survival rates are high and have improved, breast cancer is still a massive issue as it’s predicted to take 40,920 lives in 2018 in the United States alone (“Cancer Stat”). 20 years ago, however, one woman made a significant difference in breast cancer by raising half a billion dollars to help scientists research for over 7 million hours across 6 continents (“BCRF”).  Funding is a crucial part of finding a cure because scientists need money to buy supplies. The supplies are then used to carry out experiments and test if solutions are safe/effective. The woman making this research possible is Evelyn Lauder. Evelyn was born in Austria in 1937. To escape the Nazis taking her country by storm, Evelyn and her family moved to New York. Years later, she met her husband Leonard Lauder and started working at the family company, Estée Lauder, which grew to be worth $30.8 billion dollars as of 2017 (“The Estée Lauder Companies”). In 1989, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, empowering her to create the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the pink ribbon campaign. Evelyn also became the Senior Corporate Vice President for Estée Lauder and founded the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center. Her cancer center is still used as a model for treatment centers today (“BCRF”). Although she died in New York in 2011, her legacy and heroism will be remembered since she changed breast cancer forever. A hero such as Evelyn Lauder puts others before themselves to benefit society. Passion is an essential characteristic in a hero because you have to want something to be able to tap into your full potential and help as much as possible. It’s also critical to be selfless because self-absorbed individuals will not think about an ideal outcome or help solve problems, but rather what helps themselves most. Heroes can be a military volunteer trying to keep an entire population safe or a foster parent trying to give a child an opportunity to live a normal life. Evelyn proved her heroism by making a difference in issues she thought were important. Evelyn Lauder is a hero as she was not only a successful business woman; she was an inspirational cancer survivor who used her immense passion to help a cancer center, nonprofit organization and multiple campaigns thrive while selflessly putting aside personal struggles to prompt an influential revolution in life-saving breast cancer research.

124783Evelyn co-created the famous pink ribbon.vexels.comEvelyn Lauder cared so deeply about breast cancer that she used her passion to turn almost every situation into an opportunity to help. Using multiple methods, Evelyn gained awareness and funding for the benefit of breast cancer research. Using her own money, “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” (“BCRF”). Evelyn Lauder used her savings to familiarize the public with the breast cancer symbol and help people detect breast cancer early on, improving the chance of survival. By contributing, Evelyn risked her economic status to demonstrate her strong support for those affected by breast cancer. While others may focus on their own wealth, Evelyn did whatever she could to help sick people across the world. If she did not care about the cause, she would not have accepted the financial damage. Despite the negative effects it had on her life, Evelyn personally invested in an issue no one else recognized, exhibiting her intense zeal for preventing and curing breast cancer. Instead of her passion burning out, Evelyn kept overachieving by doing everything in her power to fund research. She found every chance to help, even after retirement, by taking her love for photography and selling her images and giving the proceeds to breast cancer researchers (“Evelyn Lauder”). Evelyn took her joys and used inventive thinking to relate it to breast cancer research. Her efforts display her concentration and devotion to helping scientists find a cure. Breast cancer is a prevalent topic to her because she was able to look at a basic joy like photography and turn it into a beneficial source of revenue for the massive issue. Instead of taking her retirement as a personal vacation from responsibility, she used it to better other’s lives and keep working to stop the disease. Since breast cancer research is such a dominant thought in her head, it demonstrates she is massively concerned about breast cancer patients. Aspects of her campaign represented her passion for helping others as well. After two decades of hard work at the Estée Lauder Breast Cancer Campaign, “15 iconic brands support the fundraising efforts of The Campaign” (“Home”). Evelyn spent years of her life committed to finding a lasting breast cancer cure. To further grow her campaign, she needed a large income, which is usually provided by companies that invest. Credibility is necessary for companies to give up earnings for an institute since they do not want to throw their money at a lost cause. An abundance of work and time are put in to get to this stable level. If Evelyn did not care about the cause, she would not spend this much time and energy improving the company as it would not give her any financial or personal benefits. Although most people do not have the drive needed to create such an effective charity, Evelyn stayed active and focused on the issue at hand. By gaining the companies’ trust, Evelyn is demonstrating her devotion to helping breast cancer patients. Evelyn pushed herself to do whatever it took to help others in need because she was so invested in the topic of breast cancer, demonstrating her heroism.

Rather than focusing on struggles such as her health and childhood, Evelyn seized every opportunity to selflessly give back to society. She didn't focus on herself, but rather wanted to support the greater good. At age 52, Evelyn discovered “ ...she had breast cancer in 1989, though she brought brief attention to her own battle, instead focusing on women’s health in general” ("Hearts for Evelyn"). Evelyn was hit with life altering information but still did not step into the limelight. Since most of the population sympathizes with the ill, Evelyn could have gained a lot of compassion from the public. Instead of receiving personal support that leads to benefits, Evelyn wanted to assist those in the breast cancer battle. This way, everyone would be able to enjoy a much bigger reward: a cure. She used her position in a way that positively affected people other than herself. This act represents the giving and thoughtful personality of Evelyn. She thinks of more than immediate satisfaction. Another example is at the beginning of her life, when Evelyn and her family were put in a difficult position. Instead of being stuck under the controls of the Nazis, Evelyn’s family decided to run away. Evelyn, “ ...escaped the horrors of Nazi Europe and embraced all her new country had to offer, from its free public education to its spirit of entrepreneurship” ("Lauder beauty more than skin deep"). Rather than sulking over her rough upbringing, Evelyn took the opportunity she was given to work vigorously and make a difference. Countless people let their obstacles define themselves. They use their rough times as an excuse and experience distress. Evelyn used her situation to not only motivate herself, but also give back by supporting those touched with cancer. Her efforts to overcome her rough past to better the lives of others demonstrate how she does not just care about herself. Evelyn further revealed her selflessness a few years after she was diagnosed with cancer and started her foundation. Evelyn participated in an interview and explained her belief that, “‘My situation doesn’t really matter’” (qtd. in Horyn). Evelyn did not want her actions, but rather the information about breast cancer to take the attention. She changed the conversation to bring the concern to a larger and more significant problem than her own battles. She could have gained supporters because people would idolize her strength to continue on with a normal life. Although the gain is tempting for most, Evelyn put the spotlight on the greater good. Because Evelyn did this, she’s verifying her compassionate feelings and motivation to give assistance to those who need it. Throughout her life, Evelyn Lauder tried to concentrate the attention on others, like a breast cancer cure, proving how heroic qualities.

124785Evelyn dedicated much of her life to raising awareness for and funding breast cancer research.nbcnewyork.comEvelyn Lauder’s enthusiasm and selflessness sets an inspiring example for generations to come, as, at age 61, she claimed that, “‘I am just beginning to do all that I want to’” (qtd. in Okun). Her ambition let her make productive changes that encourage others to do the same. Evelyn Lauder is my hero because she exceeded expectations to become successful while giving back. She rightfully earned her position at Estée Lauder as an article states, “Lauder worked in a number of capacities for Estée Lauder, including executive positions when it was uncommon for women to hold them” ("Evelyn Lauder"). In a society where people did not realize women’s potential, Evelyn used her passionate mentality to persist, paving the way for women to follow. Evelyn took control of her own life, providing a positive example for females like myself. I want to follow in her footsteps and be successful in my near future of adulthood. More importantly, I look up to Evelyn for letting her interests, not obstacles define her. Another source shares, “Through a unique and streamlined grants program, we seek out the brightest minds in science and medicine and give them the necessary resources… to make discoveries and design new approaches to address all aspects of breast cancer—and do so in record time” (“BCRF”). Evelyn Lauder made the biggest difference she could by using her interests to set new standards for breast cancer. With the help of Evelyn, scientists are closer to finding a permanent cure as they now have the funding to experiment with possible solutions. I hope that I find my own way to contribute to the lives of others. I strive to have the ambition to that Evelyn had to influence the world. Evelyn is my hero because she shared her thoughts to make a change. Evelyn Lauder is an inspiration as her passion and generosity allowed her to make her life and the world a better place.

Works Cited

BCACampaign. YouTube, YouTube, 11 Oct. 2017,

“BCRF.” Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Breast Cancer Research Foundation,

“Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer.” Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results

Program, National Cancer Institute,

"Evelyn Lauder." Gale Biography in Context, Gale, 2003. Biography In Context,

29881. Accessed 7 May 2018.

"Hearts for Evelyn." New York Post [New York, NY], 25 Jan. 2012, p. 014. Biography In


f1d8. Accessed 7 May 2018.

“Home.” The Breast Cancer Campaign, The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign,

Horyn, Cathy. “Evelyn H. Lauder, Champion of Breast Cancer Research, Dies at 75.” The New

York Times, The New York Times, 13 Nov. 2011,


"Lauder beauty more than skin deep." New York Post [New York, NY], 16 Nov. 2011, p. 013.

Biography In Context, Accessed 7 May 2018.

Okun, Stacey and Oberto Gili. "The Essence of Evelyn. (Cover Story)." Town & Country, vol.

151, no. 5209, Oct. 1997, p. 184. EBSCOhost,


“The Estée Lauder Companies on the Forbes America's Largest Public Companies List.” Forbes,

Forbes Magazine, May 2017,


Page created on 5/22/2018 5:55:34 PM

Last edited 5/22/2018 6:24:38 PM

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Related Links

“Evelyn H. Lauder, Champion of Breast Cancer Research, Dies at 75” - This newspaper article explains Evelyn's personal life as well as her accomplishments.
"Home" - The campaign website provides a detailed timeline of events that affected breast cancer and breast cancer research.
"Our History" - Evelyn's foundation website describes how/why she founded the organization as well as her legacy.