I have always loved what Ralph Lauren stands for. His clothing and iconic style have been a big part of my life for over three decades. As everyone knows fashion designer Ralph Lauren has become the epitome of classic fashion. His innovativeness along with countless other traits have made him the founder, designer and chairman of a $900 million company. He sells a lifestyle image of sophistication, class and taste. Behind the scenes he’s a crusader, with his Pink Pony line of clothing and home items which supports breast cancer awareness. Essentially Pink Pony’s 10 anniversary line of clothing and cashmere throws, are limited editions and customizable. The Pink Pony Fund, which has raised over $40 million to fight cancer in 13 different countries.
For over 40 years, Ralph Lauren has cultivated the iconography of America into a global lifestyle empire. His line of clothing has seen reflections of the New England coast, Native American culture, or Hollywood glamour. Ralph Lauren embodies an expression of timeless style that is recognized and coveted around the world. He’s somewhat of a contradiction of terms: a multibillionaire who dropped out of school. He’s also relentless. He is as generous as he is successful. Just for today I want to focus on his charitable efforts and the side of him that will hopefully inspire us all to do great things.
I have often wondered what motivated him to set up his philanthropic foundation: how does he pick the causes to donate to? One turning point was when he lost his longtime friend Nina Hyde, the fashion editor of the Washington Post, to breast cancer. He established the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research [the largest breast cancer centre in the world] in 1989. The Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at the Lombardi Cancer Centre is located at the Georgetown University Medical Centre. Dr. Marc Lippman is the director of the centre and states “Our multi-disciplinary programme includes prevention, environmental factors, genetics, and novel therapies in an effort to find answers for women fighting breast cancer.” Medical researchers from all over the world have come together to focus on every aspect of the breast cancer problem due to the vision and tireless philanthropic efforts of Ralph Lauren.
He continues to be a driving force in raising breast cancer awareness both on a national and international basis. For Ralph Lauren it’s all about education and awareness. The Pink Pony line was created as a global year round effort to raise funds for Breast Cancer, and thankfully, has expanded to include all types of cancers. Its mission is now to help address the needs of the medically underserved bringing quality cancer care, access to cancer care, and early detection for those who need it most. Ten percent of the proceeds from Pink Pony products benefit the Pink Pony Fund.
In 2003, in cooperation with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center [the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center], he established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care & Prevention in East Harlem, New York. One of the center’s most innovative services is called patient navigators: a concept pioneered by Dr. Freeman, the center’s medical director. He’s the national authority on the relationships among race, poverty, and cancer. Patient navigators assist patients and family members to ensure that they are not lost in the complexities of the healthcare system.
It’s amazing how giving Ralph Lauren is. The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, was established by a generous gift from the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. This generous gift has offered the medically underserved, predominantly minority population of Harlem access to the highest-quality cancer screening and treatment services.
In his remarks, Ralph Lauren acknowledged the “efforts, the care, and the love of everyone who worked so hard to see that the center came into being. This is not the end, but the beginning of a long fight for all of us.”
Today I express my gratitude to your efforts. Keep fighting the good fight, Ralph Lauren. You have made the world a better place.