The rubber wristbands are available in a variety of colours representing different charities or campaigns. The trend started with the popular yellow band which is inscribed with ‘livestrong’ and was set up American cyclist Lance Armstrong to raise awareness of cancer. Lance Armstrong survived cancer to win the Tour De France a record six years on the run and his yellow wristband has raised around £50 million for his charity, which helps young people cope with cancer.
One of the most popular wristbands in the UK is the white ‘make poverty history’ band worn by UK celebrities like Bono, lead singer of U2, and Elton John.
“I bought my band because I think it’s important. And if we all bought one then, each us can make a big difference.”
U2 and Elton John also showed their support by playing at the London ‘Live 8’ concert. On 2nd July ‘Live 8’ concerts took place in nine countries to demonstrate support for the cancellation of debt, more aid and trade justice. In London Coldplay, Joss Stone and Robbie Williams took part in the concert alongside other big names in the music industry.
Premiership footballers Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand wear the black and white ‘stand up speak up’ bands to combat racism. The pink breast cancer campaign bands have seen an increase in sales since Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with, and underwent surgery for, breast cancer earlier this year. Fellow Australian Nicole Kidman has been spotted wearing one too. If you want to support the beat bullying campaign you need the blue band which is on sale for £2.50 and is worn by England football captain David Beckham and singer Natasha Bedingfield.
“I have a white and pink band. The white band I bought after the campaign was first talked about in my church and the pink band I bought after I ran the 5K race for life which is a sponsored run for breast cancer research”
Shoppers are being sold imitation charity-style wristbands on the streets and via the Internet. Unscrupulous street and Internet sellers are selling the bands for up to double the actual value with none of the money going to any of the good causes. Shoppers are being warned that if they want to buy the charity bands and not fashion imitations they should go to reputable shops.
The average price of the wristbands is £1 and all the money goes to the charity. They are seen as trendier than traditional charity pins and things like poppies which is why so many young people are seen wearing them. The criticism is that they are only wearing them because they are trendy and a fashion statement, which could be true, but is this a bad thing? If it’s raising money for the charity and people’s awareness of various health and social issues surely it’s a good thing.