October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Olivia Newton-John is supporting the cause in more ways than one since she overcame her own personal battle with the disease in 1993.
First, her new CD A Celebration In Song featuring duets with Keith Urban, Richard Marx and more is in stores now, and proceeds go to The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, which is due to open in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009. She points to Right Here With You, the duet she recorded with Delta Goodrem, as the most personal song.
“It’s about our cancer journey because Delta also had cancer as a young woman,” Olivia tells me of the Aussie singer, 23, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease at 18. “It says ‘don’t give up, here I am, if you need a helping hand, I’m going to be right here with you.’ It’s all about helping somebody who’s going through the cancer journey.”
Secondly, she’s teamed up with Curves to give away one million of her breast cancer self-examination kits called LivAid.
“I hope that one day every woman will be given one of these because it’s important,” she tells me.
For Olivia, 60, who married entrepreneur John Easterling in June, giving back is her way of helping others. But she’s also seen her share of heartache. Aside from breast cancer, the Grease icon’s trials and tribulations have included her longtime boyfriend Patrick McDermott’s mysterious disappearance in 2005, and divorce from Matt Lattanzi, who is the father of her 22-year-old daughter Chloe, in 1995. What is the most difficult thing she’s overcome, and how did she get through it?
“I’ve had a lot of challenges, so I won’t put a name on one of them,” she tells me. “Just believing that I would get through it and knowing that there are no shortcuts. With any challenge or pain or difficulty, the only way through it is to go through it — go through the fire. And you come out the other end of it. There’s a balance in life. I think life has an equilibrium. It balances out. Hopefully you learn from your experiences and grow. I think I’ve always had a pretty positive attitude that I would get through whatever it is. I live life that way.”
She recently celebrated her 60th birthday. How does she feel?
“Fortunate,” Olivia laughs. “I feel very blessed that I’m here and I’m healthy. I couldn’t be in a better place in my life.”
Any tips for looking so great after six decades? Aside from applying her hubby’s Amazon Herb product Illuvia to her skin twice a day, Olivia credits her youthful looks to using the treadmill, taking walks and playing tennis two to three times a week. Their dogs Jack and Sherlock often accompany the couple when they hike or take strolls on the beach. And she’s in fantastic shape. Earlier this year, Olivia spent three weeks walking 250 miles along the Great Wall of China.
For every day, she attributes her sleek physique to the digestive aid Digestazon from John’s Amazon Herb line.
“I take it with every meal and it helps digest food,” she says. “I eat everything now because I can digest it well. I used to eat more carefully. I like grilled food, I tend to like grilled simple foods like salads and vegetables, I eat meat occasionally like chicken and fish. I eat well. I eat fruits and vegetables. I don’t see it as a diet, I see it as a lifestyle for me. I try to eat organically as much as I can.”
Check out the LivAid breast cancer self-examination kit and A Celebration In Song CD in stores now.