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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Newton-John is a hit at anniversary gala

“Our one and only choice was Olivia Newton-John,” said Chrys Peterson after the singer s concert during the Pink Ribbon Gala Sunday evening in the Stranahan Theater.

The event, presented by Sky Bank and McDonald Financial Group, was the 10th anniversary celebration for the Northwest Ohio Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer affiliate, most noted for the Race for the Cure. Newton-John is an 11-year cancer survivor

Ms. Peterson, dressed in a long pink gown for the gala, gave countless hours to the event as well as the organization. The co-anchor at WTOL-TV, Channel 11, was co-chairman of the gala with man-about-town and philanthropist Jeff Jaffe.

Singer Olivia Newton-John is flanked by Chrys Peterson and Jeff Jaffe, co-chairmen of the Pink Ribbon Gala. Singer Olivia Newton-John is flanked by Chrys Peterson and Jeff Jaffe, co-chairmen of the Pink Ribbon Gala.

People were mesmerized as Newton-John, wearing a shimmering lavender number with matching boots, sang “Let s Get Physical,” “Sam,” and other hits. The theme song from Grease drew the loudest cheers as Newton-John performed with her company. She joked, “I HAD to kiss” John Travolta.

The song, “Not Gonna Give In To It,” from Newton-John s album, “Gaia: One Woman s Journey,” was extra-special for cancer survivors and families in the audience. The song reflects the singer s own experiences with breast cancer.

After a standing ovation, her performance ended with “I Honestly Love You” and a note from Newton-John to “Stay well.”

Pink and black provided a classy scene for the after glow, which included gourmet delights donated by area restaurants and music by the the Kirbys.

Mayor Jack Ford, his wife, Cynthia, and daughter, Jacqueline, presented Newton-John with a glass key to the city; a Leon Applebaum glass bowl was presented by the committee.

Newton-John has promoted early detection and started the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

Honored guests were highlighted in the “10 years, 10 stories” program about breast cancer survivors, including Gretchen Skeldon, Deborah Roberts, Denise Ann Dartt, Lori Nistel, Bessie Mack, Diann and Steve Novak, Fatima Simon, Jane Manahan, Maryanne Spencer, and Karen Ridenour.

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