On 28 October 2004, the day he turned 40, Walter Scheffrahn registered a trademark that was to become known all over the world. His objective, as an international brands and media entrepreneur, was to create an international charity symbol for Children's relief. The colour orange of the Orange Ribbon was chosen as a tribute to the symbol’s Dutch roots, but also because it reflects warmth, energy, change, and health. Because he needed to focus on a charity initiative already up and running, Walter decided to postpone his activities for Orange Ribbon.
Over 2004 Walter initiated and set up Pink Ribbon International as a token of support for his sister Desiree Scheffrahn, who had suffered breast cancer. With the http://www.pinkribbon.com website providing information on breast cancer issues since 1997, Walter registered numerous national domains and trademarks for Pink Ribbon worldwide and introduced the idea of a global platform for breast cancer awareness and funding (Awareness, Advocacy, Alliances, Alignment and Accreditation).
In 2005 he discussed the ideas of Pink Ribbon International with his good friend and author Sophie van der Stap, a cancer survivor herself, and it was not long after this that Sophie joined Pink Ribbon International.
At the end of the year 2006 Walter started to share his ideas about Orange Ribbon with Sophie. With the knowledge of Pink Ribbon it would be a challenge to set up a global platform for Child Cancer Awareness and Funding. They were joined a few months later by Jurriaan van Dam. Jurriaan, a close friend of Sophie and Walter, was a clinical researcher at the oncology department of the University of Leiden. Jurriaan initiated the idea of a game (CliniGames) for sick children. While playing the game, children could learn to prepare themselves for the clinical process they were about to undergo and to get strong to be able recover faster. He also strived to integrate eastern healing principles in Western conventional medicine. Sophie, Jurriaan and Walter started to set up Orange Ribbon International.
Over the course of 2007 the idea of Orange Ribbon was elaborated and structured further. The organizational structure was set up and the market approach defined. Orange Ribbon International was to become an international platform, a one-stop shop for all accredited Child Cancer foundations worldwide. May, the month of young life, would become Child Cancer Awareness Month. The idea of spotlighting prominent buildings in major cities across the world during this month (Orange Illumination) was investigated. The organization would have worldwide ambassadors, a professional magazine and a yearly Orange Ribbon Award gala.
On 4 January 2008 Jurriaan van Dam died of cancer at the age of 29. At his funeral in Amsterdam, his family and hundreds of friends wore the Orange Ribbon to support the ideas that Jurriaan stood for. As of that moment Orange Ribbon was dedicated to Jurriaan van Dam being one of the three initiators of Orange Ribbon International. Jurriaan's girlfriend Marleen Visser started that same year preparing the first issue of Orange Ribbon magazine.
Sophie is the international ambassador and spokesperson for Orange Ribbon International.