Olivia Newton-John continually uses her platform to advocate for cancer research and now she is taking it a step further with the launch of her new foundation.
The four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and actress, who is currently battling breast cancer for the third time, launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation this month to fund research for treatments and therapies to cure cancer.
The star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and again in 2013. She revealed in 2018 that the disease returned and metastasized to her spine.
In a recent interview with “Good Morning America,” the actress, 72, revealed she is “feeling really good” and spoke about what led her to launch this new charity.
“I feel really positive and very excited about bringing this foundation and a lot of knowledge to people, and funding research to find out lots of answers — to find kinder treatments for cancer,” she shared.
“The inspiration has been a long one because I’ve been on this cancer journey for 28 years,” she added. “I’m a thriver of three times going through this process.”
MORE: Olivia Newton-John gives optimistic update on breast cancer diagnosis
Having gone through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she said she now is interested in funding treatments that aren’t as taxing to the body. “I’ve always thought, ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could create kinder therapies that help boost the body’s immune system instead of knocking us down?'” she said.
Newton-John is an outspoken advocate for plant medicine and says that’s largely due to the influence of her husband, John Easterling. She affectionately calls him “Amazon John” because he spent several years in the Amazon rain forest learning about this type of medicine.
“I’m very lucky that I have him in my corner, and teaching me about the plants and the herbs,” she said. “He grows cannabis for me and I take tinctures that have helped me greatly.”
Ongoing efforts are being made to research what role cannabis may play in the future. “While some like Newton-John find relief of cancer-related pain and nausea from cannabis, it has not clinically proven to be the best choice,” according to health expert Dr. Imran Ali, a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.
Newton-John says she believes there is a significant lack of progress in research for these treatments.
“There are lots of ideas on how we can help people with cancer and treat cancer, but there’s been no real science behind the studies,” she explained. “So the idea is to raise money to fund the research on the other kinds of things that are kinder, including a lot of plant medicine.”
Newton-John is dedicating the foundation to all forms of cancer treatments — not just breast cancer research — because she dreams of one day “realizing a world beyond cancer.”
“That’s everything that drives me forward,” she said. “To think that we could help people to