Why the Purple Pansy?
You will see that on social media and via our website, we often use a purple pansy as a symbol, and many ask, “Why the purple pansy?”
Well, it all started in 2010 when I founded Pancreatic Cancer Action, using the pansy as a logo, and continued to use it until 2015 until we re-branded.
However, I had and still do have, a sentimental attachment to the pansy and I didn’t want to lose it completely. So, we decided that we would use it for a very special purpose; to remember those who we have lost to pancreatic cancer.
We have done this by naming our online in-memory tribute fund pages, the Pansy Tribute Fund and by producing pansy pin badges people can wear in memory of those they have loved. We have developed pansy trolley key rings too!
So, how did the idea of the pansy come about?
It all started with the colour purple. Some, all or none of you may know that purple is the internationally recognised colour for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer charities in the USA universally adopt the purple colour in their branding. Other pancreatic cancer organisations in the UK and abroad have also adopted purple as their brand colour. We have all seen what pink can do for breast cancer, so the thought was that maybe purple can do the same for pancreatic cancer.
So, we have the colour and we are a charity in the cancer sector. Surely we needed a ribbon, didn’t we? Well, we could, but the ribbon, to me, doesn’t say anything other than cancer. And while we are an organisation dealing with cancer we are also dealing with other things too such as awareness and survival.
Why the pansy?
Although it is found in other colours, the pansy fits the purple theme rather nicely and what is even more special is that it flowers during November (the winter variety anyway), which when we have Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
However, while the pansy ticks the boxes on colour and flowering time, to me the most important symbol of the pansy that it is a living thing. Having a living thing as a symbol is important, as I want it in itself to convey a message of hope.
The main focus of our work here at Pancreatic Cancer Action is to improve early diagnosis of the disease and that means shouting about the dire survival rates, the fact that nothing has improved for nearly 50 years, the underfunding of pancreatic cancer relative to the disease burden and to stop pancreatic cancer from continuing to sit in the shadows of public consciousness.
What the pansy pin means to me…
While the statistics confirm that survivors are in the minority, there are those who, while facing the disease, have helped campaign and raise awareness for us and have been the most amazing advocates we could ever hope for. Which is why we at Pancreatic Cancer Action can never forget them. While some patients are just too unwell to take on an advocacy role, their close family members often step in and, when their loved one has passed away, continue to raise awareness and funds in their memory. We are grateful to each and every one of them.
It is for those lost to the disease and in thanks to those who are tirelessly raising awareness of pancreatic cancer that I am currently wearing my purple pansy pin and I will be especially on World Cancer Day on 4th February.
If you would like to order your pansy pin or trolley key ring, please click here to visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action shop.