If not for you…

My journey with Olivia Newton-John fills me with extreme warmth and so much gratitude. She was my first teenage crush when she appeared in Grease in 1978. Her country music saw me through my HSC year in 1980. Whilst I should have been studying Shakespeare and algebra I was actually listening with welcome distraction to her perfect pitch singing “Have you never been mellow”, “Sam”, “The banks of the Ohio” and “If not for you”. The latter song was written by Bob Dylan, and also recorded by George Harrison. However, it was Olivia that won gold with that record, her first big hit in 1971. She received a gold record award from Festival Records in the UK, in May 1972, which was 50 years ago last year. I was not to know back then that I would become the owner of that gold record. How lucky am I?!?

However, Olivia was much more than a singer to me, her own lived experience with cancer which began over 30 years ago, her positive attitude, her eternal optimism, her fierce determination to end cancer and her tireless philanthropy have both inspired me and supported me through my own journey with cancer which began 13 years ago. She taught me that language was important and that to “win over” cancer was a far better approach than “battling” cancer and that both body kindness and wellness practices needed to be included in the overall treatment of cancer.

I learnt that whilst cancer is an insidious disease on so many levels, it can be also a great place of re-evaluation, a turning point and an impetus for appreciating and living life in a different way than I did before.

I choose to engage fully with life and support others where possible on their journeys. Many of you have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis, some of you have lost loved ones or seen them through challenging times, some of you are living with cancer courageously and doing really well.  You also inspire me.

Olivia had a dream to see an end of cancer in her life time, sadly this did not happen, but I will play a small part in her endeavours to make this happen.  I have walked in three wellness walks to help raise funds for her Centre, one in Melbourne, her home town. I fully support the ONJ Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) and also her Wellness Centre.

In lieu of gifts for my 60th birthday I’m asking that, if you feel inclined, that you make a tax-deductible donation to the ONJCRI, below. That is the one gift I would really appreciate and that would mean so much to me.

Warmest wishes and with much gratitude everyone, I’m looking forward to seeing you all on April 1st!



If you have any questions or concerns about donating to ONJCRI, please contact the Philanthropy Team via:

Phone: +61 3 7008 5088

Email: philanthropy@onjcri.org.au

A treasured item: Olivia's 1972 gold record from Festival Records

My Zoom call with the lovely Dame Olivia!