How Breast Cancer Survivor Olivia Newton-John Inspires and Raises Awareness
Advocacy The beloved singer-songwriter reflects on her cancer journey and ongoing efforts to end the disease once and for all.
For Olivia Newton-John, cancer has been an all too familiar opponent. In addition to her own battle, she lost her father and sister to the disease. That's why the four-time Grammy winner is committed to helping others fight back.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, the "Grease" and "Xanadu" star underwent a partial mastectomy, nine months of chemotherapy and breast reconstruction.
“I was very nervous about chemotherapy,” says Newton-John, “I wasn't keen on it, but I did it because I wanted to cover every possible avenue at the time. I exercised and did everything I could to be in control.”
On her road to recovery, she incorporated herbal formulas, acupuncture and meditation and focused on a vision of complete wellness. That approach would pay off, moving forward.
“The ONJ Centre provides top medical research and cutting-edge treatments, along with psychological support and music therapy.”
A place to heal
When Newton-John was asked to put her name on a new cancer center in her native Australia more than ten years ago, she had reservations. She turned to her mother for advice.
“She said, ‘Darling, if you're going to help people, you should do this.’ I thought about it overnight and went back to see them and said I would be very honored to have my name on a building, but if you're going to do this is, it has to be a wellness center also."
The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre is a facility designed to support patients during one of the most difficult times of their lives. The ONJ Centre provides top medical research and cutting-edge treatments, along with psychological support and music therapy.
Coping with loss
After she lost her sister Rona to brain cancer, the iconic performer wrote a special song in her memory.
"It was a way to express my pain and grief, and I sent it to a friend to help me with it," says Newton-John, who teamed with songwriters Amy Sky and Beth Nielsen Chapman for an entire album of healing songs called “Liv On.”
Advice to others
Grateful to be healthy and active, Newton-John believes a cure for cancer will happen during her lifetime. For those currently dealing with the disease, she says simply, "Support your spirit, and have people around you who are positive. Focus on doing things every day for yourself, whether it's taking a walk, going to a movie, being creative or having a good laugh.
"Also, do your research and decide what is right for you. Feel in charge of your own body."