updated 08/25/2008 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/25/2008 AT 1:35 PM ET
Olivia Newton-John, a breast-cancer survivor who feels “an instant rapport” with others who have the disease, says she is thinking of Christina Applegate and planning to connect with the Samantha Who? star during her time of recovery.
“I haven’t met her yet, but I’ve always liked her and admired her as an actress and would like to just say ‘Hey,’ so I will,” Newton-John told PEOPLE at Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Breast-cancer survivors form a kind of sisterhood, says Newton-John, 59, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1992. Asked how her battle and recovery have helped her connect with strangers who have the disease, she replied, “We’re not strangers, and particularly if you’ve been through something like this. I feel connected.
“You understand where they’ve been. There’s that compassion, that connection with someone. So, I feel very lucky that I’m here. I feel lucky that I can pass on the message that I am here.”
Applegate, 36, was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer this month and elected to undergo a double mastectomy, even though cancer was detected in only one breast. She has been declared cancer-free and is now recovering.
Newton-John is currently juggling several breast-cancer initiatives, including a project by Curves gyms to give away 1 million breast self-examination kits during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. She is also building the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Center in Australia.
Project Angel Food, another charity she in involved with, provides daily meals in L.A. for people homebound or disabled by HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
For more advice from experts and survivors on living with breast cancer, see Health.com