Olivia Newton-John is teaming up with Dancers Against Cancer, an organization that has raised more than $2 million for dancers affected by the disease

By Melody Chiu
August 02, 2019 01:05 PM

As she continues to face the return of her cancer, Olivia Newton-John remains a positive force — and is continuing to make an impact with her platform.

“I’m doing well. I’m thriving! This is my word,” the star, who’s teaming up with Dancers Against Cancer (an organization that has raised more than $2 million for dance educators, choreographers, dancers and their families who have been impacted by cancer), told PEOPLE on set of a PSA shoot for the campaign.

“The dance performing community means a lot to me. I’ve always loved dancers and wished that I’d learnt when I was young,” says Newton-John, 70, who revealed in 2017 that she had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. “I used to do creative dance, but I never really learned it until I had to dance with Gene Kelly and John Travolta. Lucky me, I got to do Dancing with the Stars long before it was a show.”

Olivia Newton-John and Allyson Minahan
Stephen Busken
Allyson Minahan, Kate Campa, Allie Brown and Olivia Newton-John
Stephen Busken

“My cancer journey started in 1992, and I went through surgery and chemotherapy,” she says. “I was lucky enough to have yoga and massage and homeopathy and meditation, and then I had a spell of years where I was okay. Then I have metastases now.”

While on set, three young dancers — Allyson Minahan, Kate Campa and Allie Brown — who star in the PSA (produced by Rossi Bros. Media in association with Beyond the Porch) opened up about their own emotional experiences with the devastating disease.

Minahan’s cancer was discovered after an ultra-sound, and she’s already undergone two surgeries. Campa was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer after suffering from back pain, and Brown was told she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma after having “really bad chest pain.”

Despite the hardships they’re facing, all three girls — and Newton-John — are determined to find beauty in the world.

Kate Campa, Allie Brown, Olivia Newton-John and Allyson Minahan
Stephen Busken
Olivia Newton-John, Kate Campa and Allie Brown
Stephen Busken

Says Brown through tears: “You never know what someone’s going through. Being kind to some people can make a big difference.”

On Aug. 14, various dancers, educators, pioneers and more will be honored at the Industry Dance Awards & Cancer Benefit Show, an annual event held at the Avalon in Hollywood that will benefit cancer-related charities including Dancers Against Cancer.

Kate Campa, Olivia Newton-John and Allie Brown
Stephen Busken

Newton-John will receive the lifetime achievement award, Jenna Dewan will be honored with the trailblazer award, Derek Hough and Julianne Hough will take home the role model award, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo will receive the innovator award and Galen Hooks will be given the dance icon award.

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