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New €2 celebrates French anti-breast cancer campaign

The Paris Mint has issued a new €2 coin to celebrate 25 years since France’s first high-profile awareness campaign against breast cancer.

The design, which shows the torso of a woman covering her breast with a traditional “fight breast cancer” ribbon in the golden centre of the coin, surrounded by the usual silver stars, also features the words “25th anniversary of the pink ribbon” around the golden edge.

The other side of the coin shows the usual €2 map of Europe found on normal coins.

There are 10 million of the special coins available for sale - for the same price as their own value - ie. €2 - on the French Currency Society (Société Française des Monnaies) website.

The coins, as their design suggests, have primarily been made to commemorate 25 years of a campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer, and break the then-taboo that existed around talking about it.

As the French Currency Society website explains, at the beginning of the 1990s, breast cancer research is said to have received very little funding or national publicity in France.

In 1992, however, the “pink ribbon” shown on the coin was created, as a global symbol of the fight against breast cancer, reportedly chosen by Evelyn H. Lauder, vice president of the cosmetics company Estée Lauder and women’s magazine Self, who helped promote the symbol.

The ribbon was said to have been “chosen for its femininity, joy and sweetness...everything that cancer is not”, and was intended to help give hope to anyone fighting the disease. Now, over 100 million pink breast cancer ribbons are said to have been handed out across the world as symbols against the illness.

Another related campaign, named “Let’s Talk About Breast Cancer!” (“Le Cancer du Sein, Parlons-en!”), was launched later in 1994, to raise further awareness across France, with Estée Lauder continuing to join forces with women’s magazines - this time especially the publication Marie Claire - to publicise the move.

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