Scott Hamilton had heard it before: cancer. However, this time was different.
“I survived [testicular] cancer in 1997,” said Hamilton, an Olympic gold medal figure skater. “Seven years later I was diagnosed with a pituitary brain tumor, and then it came back six years later in 2010 and that time they did surgery.
“Now it’s six years later and [cancer] decided it wanted an encore.”
This time, Hamilton made lifestyle changes and remained steadfast in his faith. “I really tried to draw as close to the Lord as possible,” Hamilton said. His story was featured in People Icons: Heroes & Survivors on ABC.
After cutting out sugar and “all the unhealthy stuff,” Hamilton revealed that his tumor had shrunk.
“The doctors basically said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,’ ” Hamilton said. “And it was very funny, the surgeon that I would use if I were to take it out, I go, ‘Can you explain this?’ He just smiled and looked at me and goes, ‘God.’ … I was just a blubbering mess, like, ‘I’m not worthy of this.’ ”
Hamilton is uniquely acquainted with cancer – from personal experience and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, which stands for Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship. The alliance seeks to build strong partnerships with leading institutions, cancer support groups, and researchers from around the globe.
“Cancer is a tough thing,” Hamilton said, “and it’s really devastated a lot of families. I lost my mother to cancer and it changed my life forever.
“But I choose, in everything we do, to celebrate life.”
Hamilton is a firm believer in “getting up” after the fall. He pointed to a chapter in his book, The Great Eight, titled “Fall Down, Get Up, Smile Like Kristi Yamaguchi. “In one of her [skating] programs, she took a hard fall on a really difficult jump — and she got up, went right back to her program like nothing happened.
“I realized in that moment there’s a life lesson: I’m gonna fall down. I’m gonna make mistakes. But it’s what’s next — it’s how you get up. The more times you get up, the stronger you are.”