EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Newton-John, a longtime advocate for the advancement of cancer research, is once again using her platform to bring awareness and funding to the enormous cause.
Three times in nearly 30 years, the “Grease” actress and singer, 72, has battled cancer. Throughout her journey, she has been on a quest for a cure, but now Newton-John is compelled to throw her reach at cancer in a big way following the death of close pal Kelly Preston.
“John is my friend and he chooses to be private about this but he’s doing as well as anyone can be after losing their wife,” Newton-John, who starred alongside Travolta in “Grease” and “Two of a Kind,” told Fox News. “Kelly, she was the most wonderful, beautiful, radiant mother and woman and losing her is incredibly sad.”
Travolta announced the heartbreaking news of Preston’s death in an Instagram post at the time.
Olivia Newton-John, left, told Fox News John Travolta is ‘doing as well as he can be’ following the death of wife Kelly Preston, right. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
“Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered,” he wrote in part. “I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.”
Meanwhile, the British-Australian performer said launching the Olivia Newton-John Foundation is her vehicle to make a real impact in the ongoing fight against cancer.
“It really strengthens my resolve to do what I’m doing so I can find other ways to treat cancer,” Newton-John said of Preston’s death. “We all want to see an end to it. So that’s going to keep me going.”
The “A Little More Love” singer was first diagnosed with the disease in 1992, had a secret battle with cancer in 2013 and her most recent diagnosis in 2017.
Former co-stars Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta remain very close friends to this day. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Through her independent charity, Newton-John will be auctioning off over 300 items including two Zoom chats with fans, memorabilia, awards, artwork and more with Julien’s Auctions via an online-only bidding auction beginning on Nov. 9 and ending on Nov. 30.
All of the proceeds raised go directly to the organization and their efforts to combat cancer.
“That’s my dream. That’s my goal – to find different kinds of therapy for cancer and to see if we can get to a point where we can control cancer and live with it, like diabetes and other conditions,” Newton-John said.
“Immunotherapy is showing some promise, but ultimately we want to find treatments that don’t poison the body,” she added.
Olivia Newton-John was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Newton-John maintained that she’s especially excited for whoever ends up winning the Zoom calls with her. The event marks the second time she’s been willing to auction off her keepsakes and made it a point to shout out to a “wonderful man” who previously ended up placing a winning bid on her “Grease” jacket, only to gift it back to Newton-John.
“That was the most generous, wonderful thing,” she said. “He didn’t have to do that.”