Nicole’s letter to Olivia Newton John

With the sad passing of Olivia Newton John, one of Australia’s most iconic actors, participant Nicole has been reminiscing the impact Olivia made on her life.

As part of Nicole’s literacy learning at Kurrajong Employment Preparation, she decided to tackle Olivia’s book. Nicole found the book to be inspiring because she found it relatable to her life and challenging because there were lots of difficult words to read.

Back in April 2021, Nicole wrote a letter to Olivia about how the book found its way into her life and what she was able to take from it. Nicole wanted to share her letter for all to see:

“Dear Olivia,

I like to introduce myself, my name is Nicole. I was given your book “Don’t Stop Believing” as a birthday present from my parents back in 2017. I started to read your book but I was finding it quite difficult to read, so had to put it down for a bit.

In January 2020, I was given an opportunity each Wednesday to connect with a support worker who helped me with my literacy and numeracy. This was helped by my funding that I receive from the NDIS. One of my literacy goals was to read a book and with more confidence, so I chose to start reading your book again, as I have always been a big fan of yours (I even dressed up as you for International day for people with a disability, and I won first prize!)

I have just finished up reading your book and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading it and would like to tell some of the things I liked about your book. I really enjoyed how you talk about your good friend Nancy and her daughter and also how you talk about both your mum and dad. I have also enjoyed reading about how you have overcome the challenges that you have faced yourself in your life and it made me proud.

So in your book you talked about challenges and perseverance you faced, I would like to share with you 2 or 3 challenges I have faced. The first was learning the confidence to read your book again. At the same time, I was needing new eyes (glasses to help me see better) I had to stop reading until my new glasses arrived but when they came, off I went to continue to read your book.

In the time I was reading your book, I wrote a story about myself for International day for people with a disability and it was published in the local paper with a photo of myself and an interview piece.

Last year when COVID-19 hit, I had to learn how to read your book online over Zoom, with my support worker at the other end. That was a big challenge for me, as I had never done anything like that before. But I did it and persevered with it for 9 weeks.

So back to some of the things I enjoyed reading in your book. I liked reading about how you helped with the ONJ center and how much effort was put in to get it up and running. But most of all, I loved reading about the story of your walk to the Great Wall of China and how you found the cat on the walk, sorry I can’t remember the cats name. I just love the love you have for wildlife

So one day I hope that you will have time to read my letter but most of all I hope that one day you will be able to write another book so I can read it. Thank you so much and most of all I won’t stop believing.