A mystery auction buyer of Olivia Newton-John's iconic Grease black leather jacket surprised the actress and singer by giving it back to her. A Dec. 10 video posted to YouTube shows the donor, face blurred out to preserve his anonymity, making the presentation to Newton-John, who is battling breast cancer again.
“The odds of beating a recurring cancer using the newest emergent therapies is 1,000 fold greater than someone appearing out of the blue and buying your most famous and cherished icon and returning it to you, which is what I'm going to do right now,” he said to her.
Newton-John gasps. “Are you serious?” she says, moved to tears and giving him a big hug.
The donor had paid $243, 200 (USD) for the coveted jacket at the Julien's Auctions sale on Nov. 2 in Beverly Hills with proceeds benefitting the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Center in Melbourne, Australia. The auction house sold off over 500 items from Newton-John's career, including other jackets and costumes, to raise in all $2.4 million (USD) for the cancer center.
“This jacket belongs to you and the collective soul of those who love you, those for whom you are the soundtrack of their lives. It should not sit in a billionaire's closet for country club bragging rights. For this reason I humbly and respectfully return it to its rightful owner, which is you."
Newton-John was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992, and recently revealed since 2017 she has battled stage four breast cancer, her third diagnosis of the deadly disease after an earlier treatment round in 2013.
“Godspeed for a quick recovery,” he added. “ Should you ever need medical advice and support from a trusted doctor and ally, I will be there," the donor added, hinting at his medical background.
“You are it, I’m telling you,” she said, with a laugh, reaching for his hand and hugging him again.
"That is the most incredibly generous thing to do for me. I am so grateful, and I am just blown away. This is such a huge donation to my centre.”
The jacket will be on display at her cancer center, which treats cancer patients, offers wellness programs and has around 200 clinical trials in progress to discover new cancer therapies.
"The ONJ Centre provides top medical research and the newest cutting edge treatments, combined with the best in wellness care, where we support patients and their families with life enhancing Wellness programs during their journey. I believe that through our research we will ultimately find cures for all types of cancer," Newton-John says in a statement on her cancer center's website.
Newton-John's cancer center research laboratories operate side by side with Austin Health's patient treatment and care facilities, which aims to leverage clinical trials into new and more effective cancer treatments.
The cancer center has a focus on research into the development of immunotherapies, targeted therapeutics and personalised cancer medicine. It aims in part aims to help cancer patients navigate their cancer journey after being referred to the Austin Heath hospital by their doctor.
"At the ONJ Centre your care is built around your individual needs. This includes your physical, psychological and emotional health. Every patient is surrounded by a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists, allied health and wellbeing therapists. Your dedicated treatment team work together to guide you through your optimal treatment pathway," the Newton-John center says on its website.
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