News People Talking the walk, ONJ full of hope and gratitude at 70

Talking the walk, ONJ full of hope and gratitude at 70

Olivia Newton-John says her life is a celebration of gratitude for surviving repeated bouts with cancer. Photo: AAP
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Olivia Newton-John has sold more than 100 million albums and starred in one of the world’s most successful musicals, but in the month she turns 70, her life is all about gratitude and wellness, and supporting fellow cancer sufferers.

Having been diagnosed in 2017 with cancer for the third time – this time at the base of her spine, Newton-John says her own wellness rituals are helping her.

“I’m going good. I do a lot of natural therapies. I take a lot of herbs and supplements and I do a lot of meditation,” the Grease star said. “Wellness is really important. You have to treat the whole being.”

Newton-John first discovered she had breast cancer in 1992. She overcame the disease before discovering in 2013 that she had cancer in her shoulder.

Didi Conn (Frenchie), director Randal Kleiser, Olivia Newton-John (Sandy), John Travolta (Danny) and Barry Pearl (Doody) attend a 40th anniversary reunion of Grease in Beverly Hills on August 15. Photo: Getty

Her journeys with the disease spurred her to help others in need by opening the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in the grounds of Melbourne’s Austin Hospital in 2012.

In each year since, she has led a Wellness Walk and Research Run to raise money for the centre. This year’s event will take place this Sunday, September 16 at the Bundoora campus of Melbourne’s La Trobe University and Newton-John is encouraging as many people as possible to take part.

For the first time, it has become a global event, with walks also taking place in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Belgium and Spain.

On her own, difficult cancer journey, the four-time Grammy award winner has undergone radiation treatments and has relied on medicinal marijuana to ease the pain. Her husband grows plants on their California property and makes her tinctures.

“It has helped me a lot. If I have pain or if I can’t sleep, it’s really, really important.”

She says it’s her dream that Australia, where she spent most of her childhood, can change its laws to make marijuana more readily and easily available for patients who are in pain.

“It’s possible, but it’s very difficult right now. There are a lot of hoops to jump through first. We need to catch up,” she says.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta show they’ve still got the rhythm. Photo: Getty

Newton-John, who has just published her memoir Don’t Stop Believin’, says she has another fundraising idea for the centre up her sleeve: the sale of her tight, shiny back pants and black jacket from the famous, final scene of Grease. She still has both garments at home.

As Newton-John turns 70, the movie celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“In a way it feels like a long time ago and in a way it feels like yesterday,” she reveals.

But she says she is grateful for every day.

“I live in the moment and don’t sweat the small stuff,” she says. “I enjoy everything, every sunset and every sunrise.”

For more information on the Wellness Walk and Research Run, visit