I’ve been raising funds for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre since 2003. Before any Earth was moved to build a building, let alone any of the amazing life saving things they’re accomplishing there.
When you’ve been influenced as I have by Olivia’s music and life throughout my own, the way to say thank you is to pay back the positivity with philanthropy.
I’m not a wealthy person by any standard. I gave what I could every month just to contribute to brick and mortar. I didn’t know it would take the next decade for the building to be finished, but that didn’t really matter to me. The money wasn’t going to make them rich, and it wasn’t going to make me poor. My life’s mantra has been: I have two hands. One to help me, and one to help others.
I felt incredibly proud when the Centre was finished. I was a tiny part of a place that would heal people suffering from cancer, mind, body, and soul. It would bring them some comfort in their journeys. Whether it be long or short. The programs were meant to help. And that’s all I cared about.
Then I found out my name would be on the wall. I didn’t know how to feel knowing that. I don’t have children, and so my life’s legacy would be the people who’d see my name on the wall of the Centre. A place where researchers are working on treatments and the cures to many forms of cancer. It blew me away.
In a previous blog, I wrote about being diagnosed with cancer. But the first time I visited the Centre in 2016, I didn’t know I was already ill. As I walked the halls, I felt the energy of a healing, beautiful facility, where people were receiving the help they needed to stay alive and win over cancer. I even saw the eighth floor where patients making the life transition, were made comfortable for the time they had left. It was a quiet and serene place, where I felt the souls of those who’d gone before.
When I saw my name on the third floor donor’s wall, I cried. It was real. It was the most humbling moment of my life. Something that I knew would be remembered long after I was gone.
Then we walked outside in the beautiful garden and noticed another donor wall outside. Lo and behold, my name was pointed out to me on that wall as well. I was gobsmacked. I truly was overwhelmed to the point of almost being frozen in my step. Had I really given enough to have two plaques? I asked as if it wasn’t in front of my eyes.
Humility can knock you over in a moment like that. I wasn’t expecting it. But truly, for the first time in my life, I felt proud of myself.
That year, our walk team, The Sol Seven, raised over $44,000 for the Centre at the annual walk. The next year, we nearly equaled that amount. And in between I’ve raised thousands by auctioning and selling items graciously autographed by Olivia for the purpose of raising funds for the Centre.
This year, a year when I’ve had my own issues with cancer and a knee replacement, I decided I had to do bigger things to raise money. This concert is one of those things.
Please join me in thanking Cathy Richardson, The City Winery Chicago, Libby Brickson and her entire staff, for their generosity and support for what we’re trying to accomplish.
Cancer is a rough go no matter what kind it is, or how tough you think you are. Those of us who’ve experienced it, need the support of others. Let’s band together to celebrate Olivia’s accomplishments and keep the programs going by buying a ticket and checking out the autographed items we’ll have for sale the night of the show.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. The Sol Seven Fundraising Team thanks you as well.