Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

Olympus and eBay partner to raise money for colorectal cancer research and awareness.

When a person thinks of Olympus, typically the first thing that pops into his or her mind is an image of a camera. While this may be the case, it’s important to note that Olympus America has also been developing healthcare technology for decades. In fact, Olympus pioneered the development of an affordable, high-quality biological microscope (the Showa GK) in 1927 which were produced Japan. The question on the table is: how many healthcare professionals are aware of the important role Olympus plays in the industry?

Giving back

Although Olympus spends a lot of time and money developing all types of technologies, it also recognizes the importance of giving back to the community and increasing the awareness of many topics that are important to the company. Recently, Olympus announced a new, year-long project where it will donate 10% of the proceeds from consumer products purchased through eBay’s Giving Works auction, which will help fund research projects for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and increase colorectal cancer awareness through the C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition. Additionally, every consumer product that is purchased will include information about colorectal cancer and the importance of being screened on a regular basis.

To learn more about this project, Megan Longenderfer, Manager of Public Relations for the Medical Division at Olympus America, and Alexis Perry, Supervisor for Online Auctions for Olympus America, took some time to discuss it in further detail.

Is this the first time Olympus is working with eBay Giving Works to help raise money for an organization? Why did Olympus decide to pursue this option?Yes. Olympus researched several charitable opportunities and felt the dynamic eBay Giving Works program (launched in November of 2003) best supported our cause-related marketing initiative. eBay Giving Works combines the market of active buyers (over 222 million members as of December 2006) and sellers (1.3 million as of June 2006) on eBay with the nonprofit certification. From 2000-December 2006, more than $94.5 million has been raised for charity listings sold on eBay worldwide. For more information about eBay Giving Works, please visit http://pages.ebay.com/givingworks.

How did Olympus choose which organizations to help raise money and colorectal cancer awareness?

Olympus chose the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition because we value their contribution to the research and advocacy efforts of colorectal cancer. Olympus is proud to partner with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF’s NCCRA). EIF’s NCCRA—co-founded by Katie Couric, Lilly Tartikoff, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in 2000—is a charitable initiative dedicated to the eradication of colon cancer by promoting the importance of early preventative screening and funding cutting-edge research to develop better tests, treatments and ultimately, a cure. Additionally, we are honored to partner with C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition, who pushes for policy decisions that make the most effective colorectal cancer prevention and treatment available to all.

Why has Olympus chosen colorectal cancer?

Colorectal Cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, yet it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

As the global leader in endoscopy, Olympus believes it is our responsibility to help educate and inform individuals about the risks of colorectal cancer. This disease is preventable and beatable when detected early.

Having pioneered the technology that helps physicians identify and remove polyps before they turn into tumors, Olympus manufactures nearly 70 percent of the medical equipment and solutions used worldwide in colorectal cancer screening and treatment procedures such as colonoscopy. Over the years, Olympus has joined with numerous colorectal cancer organizations around the nation, under the umbrella of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, in an effort to gain acceptance for endoscopic screening of colorectal cancer and foster early diagnosis and treatment. The combined efforts of Olympus and the national coalition have ultimately saved thousands of lives.

Olympus, a long-time proponent of colorectal cancer education, has been actively involved in colorectal cancer awareness and has participated in dozens of activities throughout the year to raise awareness for colorectal cancer. These activities range from partnering with hospitals to spread awareness to fundraising runs, healthcare fairs, and community outreach with demonstrations and information distribution and educational webinars.

Is Olympus working to raise awareness about other cancers, or is their main focus solely on colorectal cancer?

Olympus actively supports and provides contributions to hundreds of charitable organizations across the nation. Additionally, we believe very strongly and are very passionate about colorectal cancer because so many lives could be saved through early detection and screening.

When did Olympus decide to begin developing technologies to be used in healthcare?

Olympus was established as a healthcare company from its inception. Since its founding in 1919, Olympus has led the industry in developing medical innovations across its business lines. Throughout its history, Olympus has been known for pioneering many of the world’s firsts, such as the first gastrocamera, the first DNA computer for gene analysis and the first endoscope system featuring high-definition and Narrow Band Imaging™ technologies. Please also visit http://www.olympus-global.com/en/corc/history/about for more information about Olympus’ history.

I understand that Olympus is involved with “creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare...” Can you explain what other types of technologies Olympus has created and is creating to benefit the healthcare industry?

Many people think of Olympus as a leading-edge camera company but there is much more to the picture—while cameras are an important aspect of our business, if you’ve had any type of diagnostic and therapeutic procedure in gastroenterology, urology, gynecology and general surgery, you may think of Olympus in a different way.

A common thread through all of our core businesses and products is “opto-digital” technology. This technological innovation, embodied in our exceptional optical designs, combined with our digital signal is incorporated in our industry-leading medical endoscopes and research microscopes, for example, but is also found in Olympus consumer cameras.

As mentioned early, since its founding in 1919, Olympus has led the industry in developing medical innovations across its business lines. Throughout its history, Olympus has been known for pioneering many of the world’s firsts, such as the first gastrocamera, the first DNA computer for gene analysis and the first endoscope system featuring high-definition and Narrow Band Imaging™ technologies.

Will Olympus create healthcare technology beyond colorectal cancer? If so, what other medical issues does Olympus focus on?Olympus’ healthcare technology expands well beyond the innovations which physicians use to detect and treat colorectal cancer. The company works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines.

These include:

  • Endoscopy and Bronchoscopy endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products
  • Surgical offerings in key markets of urology, gynecology and ENT
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational, and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably, and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.OlympusAmerica.com.