Stories about breast cancer that can inspire and inform

Blog  |  Newsroom

Panera Cooks Up Something Good with Komen

Sue Stees

For 20 years, Panera Bread has been proud to join the fight against breast cancer. Every October, Panera bakes its classic Cherry Vanilla Bagels into the shape of a ribbon in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Pink Ribbon Bagel® was born from Panera franchise owner Sue Stees’ desire to raise awareness about breast cancer—a disease she knows about firsthand.

In 1984, when she was 42, Sue was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. “I was in shock, my world stood still,” Sue recalled. “At the time, my daughters were 13 and 16. I fought to have the years to see them grow into the beautiful women they are today.”

Sue’s experience with breast cancer left a lasting impression on her—that she should help make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

While brainstorming ideas for a Pink Ribbon luncheon with a friend, the idea for a Pink Ribbon Bagel blossomed. At first, the special bagel was sold at Sue’s franchise only, but soon, Panera, LLC, joined her effort.

Today, participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes across the country sell Pink Ribbon Bagels in  October. Thanks to Sue’s work helping raise awareness for breast cancer, she received the Susan G. Komen Making a Difference Award in 2001 and Komen’s Pink Ribbon Award at Race for the Cure in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2018.

“This is how Panera can bring breast cancer awareness to the public,” Sue explained. “There are so many options for treatment now. Early detection is still key, and so ‘getting the word out’ about breast cancer becomes a mission.”

A portion of proceeds from the sale of Pink Ribbon Bagels at participating bakery-cafes and 10% of Pink Ribbon eGift cards sold in October goes to support Komen’s work to save lives from breast cancer.*