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My Generation

Surviving Breast Cancer

Olivia Newton-John did — and she wants to make sure other women do, too

Olivia Newton-John rehearses at 'Kaleidoscope'

Olivia Newton-John rehearses at 'Kaleidoscope' — Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Edge Health

When you think of Olivia Newton-John, chances are the first image that comes to mind is the sweet-then-sassy Sandy in the 1978 film version of the musical Grease. Then there’s her music — the soundtrack of the '70s and '80s, with hits such as "I Honestly Love You," "Have You Never Been Mellow" and "Physical." Olivia’s still hard at work in the studio and on the screen, what with the recent release of her latest CD, Grace and Gratitude Renewed; her cameo appearance on the hit TV show Glee; and her starring role in the 2010 movie Score: A Hockey Musical.

And Olivia is devoted to a new role these days: passionate advocate for women’s health.

Olivia — who prefers to call herself a breast cancer "thriver" instead of a survivor — is on a crusade to raise awareness about early detection. She encourages women to take an active role in their health care. Olivia’s commitment to fighting cancer led her to develop the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre and Wellness Centre, which are being built in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. In 2008, she raised more than $2 million for the centers by leading a trek along the Great Wall of China. Looking back, Olivia says she’s grateful now for her cancer experience, because it allows her to be a positive inspiration to other women battling cancer.

My Generation’s Doris McMillon has the inspiring story of this superstar on a mission to save lives and make a difference for millions of women.

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