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Only four days into the 3-week, 228-km walk along the Great Wall of China and Olivia Newton-John's team of fund-raisers is already suffering sore knees, pulled muscles and twisted ankles, and realizing that this will be far more challenging than expected. No one is giving up yet, though, on a goal to raise $5 million towards the building of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

The centre will provide in- and outpatient treatment and wellness therapies as well as integrated research into new and better cancer treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

Olivia – a cancer survivor – was diagnosed with the disease only two weeks after her father died from it. Fifteen years later, she has learned a lot on her road to recovery and is eager to give back. She says, “The whole experience has given me so much understanding and compassion I now want to help others going through the same journey.”

Olivia is joined in this gruelling challenge by Sir Cliff Richard, Dannii Minogue, Didi Conn, Gemma Atkinson, Joan Rivers, Leeza Gibbons, Marcus Patrick, Martina Laird, Scott Wolf, Amy Sky, and other celebrities whose lives have somehow been touched by cancer, as well as other cancer survivors.

Television host Leeza Gibbons, who joined the walk to support the hospital and her friend Olivia, was surprised at the physical effort required. “It was really exhausting and very challenging in certain spots. But whenever you would think, ‘Oh my gosh this is getting to be a lot,’ you’d look around behind you and there would be a cancer survivor.”

Over $1 million has been raised already. To meet the teams and sponsor a walker, go to The Great Walk To Beijing 2008.

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