Supporting cancer survivors to live fulfilling lives:
The "Going-on Campaign" in South Korea

Olympus is not only dedicated to providing medical devices and solutions that aid in the early detection and treatment of cancer and other diseases but also engages globally in a wide range of corporate social responsibility initiatives. One such initiative is the "Going-on Campaign," which supports cancer survivors in living rich and fulfilling lives. We spoke with Eunhye Go, who leads this campaign at Olympus Korea, Chanwoo Park and Taeyoung Lee, cancer survivors who participated in the campaign, and Dr. Kwangmin Lee, a psychiatrist who supports this initiative.

The "Going-on Campaign": Supporting patients' lives after surgery

Eunhye Go

Many patients face physical and mental challenges during their treatment. The Going-on Campaign was started out of Olympus' desire to support these patients in continuing to live fulfilling lives even after their cancer diagnosis.

"The Going-on Campaign is a unique initiative by Olympus Korea that consists of programs providing emotional support to cancer patients while aiming to eliminate social prejudice against them and foster empathy towards them," explains Eunhye Go, who is involved with Olympus Korea's corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Launched in 2020, the campaign currently offers eight programs across various fields, including creative activities, volunteering, and psychological counseling. Cancer patients can apply and participate in activities that interest them.

Going-on Studio: Supporting video production for cancer survivor creators

Chanwoo Park

One of these programs, "Going-on Studio," is a program that supports cancer survivors with creating video content to help change society's perception of cancer survivors through online video streaming.

Chanwoo Park, who was diagnosed with stage 3 urachal cancer in 2019, participated in the Going-on Studio program. "At the time, I was about to get married, and I was deeply worried about whether it would be OK to marry my wife under these circumstances. I was mentally distressed, with tears flowing, and physically suffering from multiple rounds of chemotherapy," Park recalls.

While continuing his fight against cancer, Park learned about the Going-on Campaign. Inspired by the meaning of "Going-on" - that the lives of cancer survivors continue - he decided to join the campaign.

"Going-on Studio is a program where Olympus offers multi-faceted support to creators who have experienced cancer like me, enabling us to plan and produce content more stably. By participating in this program, I could capture my daily life and thoughts on video. It allowed me to give some form to what I had in mind and learn more about myself," says Park. Furthermore, meeting other participants in the program and sharing similar concerns became a significant source of strength for Park, as they could support each other.

"Slowly but surely, I'm realizing my goals while living each day with meaning," Park adds with a smile.

Going-on Diary and Going-on Walk: Communication through writing, and trash collecting activities outdoors

Taeyoung Lee

Taeyoung Lee, who has participated in several Going-on programs since 2021, shares her painful memories: "When I was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2016, it felt like the end of the world." With her only daughter in mind, she persevered through treatment, but sometimes yearned to take on new challenges for herself, not just be a patient. That's when she discovered the Going-on Campaign.

As a result of participating in "Going-on Diary," where cancer survivors write diaries and interact with each other, "It became an opportunity to reflect deeply on myself, and I began to think that I wanted to take on new challenges." She also states, "Now, as I pursue my grand ambition of becoming a senior model, I'm genuinely living happy and fulfilling days."

Lee also takes part in "Going-on Walk," where cancer survivors and Olympus employees walk together outdoors while picking up trash. "Through this program, I met many patients. Some may be suffering from more pain than I am, but they never stop smiling and sometimes share their thoughts about their families. Seeing them gives me courage," explains Lee.

"The Going-on Campaign is something very special to me. It allows me to stop identifying myself as a cancer patient and gives me the motivation to start a new chapter in my life."

Improving social perception towards cancer survivors is essential

Taeyoung Lee

With advancements in medical technology, the survival rate of cancer patients in South Korea has significantly improved. In this context, how cancer survivors continue their lives after treatment has become a major theme. However, cancer survivors often experience severe psychological anxiety during diagnosis and treatment and may face negative social perceptions.

Dr. Kwangmin Lee, who collaborates on the "Going on Talk" program, where cancer survivors and psychiatrists engage in dialogue, points out "For patients to live their life after treatment positively, both emotional support and improvement in social perception are necessary." He further explains, "The Going-on Campaign offers cancer survivors emotional support and psychological care while at the same time running awareness improvement programs that help foster a society where patients feel no need to hide their cancer diagnosis."

Eunhye Go expresses her desire for Olympus Korea to continue developing the Going-on Campaign. "By providing programs that emotionally support cancer survivors like Park and Lee, we sincerely hope their future lives will be fulfilling and rich. To achieve this, we will continue our activities with dedication. This is how we are ‘True to Life'," states Go.

For more information about Olympus'corporate citizenship activities worldwide, please visit the Corporate Citizenship Activities on our website.

* This story is based on interviews conducted in March 2024.