Tune in to FOX on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009 at 4:00pm ET for Kaleidoscope, a program that combines skating, song, and the brave message of survivorship to raise awareness of the key issues surrounding women and cancer and to inform, inspire, and influence women to take control of their health. Join cancer survivors Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton and Olivia Newton-John along with Kristi Yamaguchi, Nancy Kerrigan, Rachael Flatt, Johnny Weir, Brandon Mroz, David Foster, Katharine McPhee and David Archuleta for this touching new Thanksgiving tradition.
Scott Hamilton: A Miracle on Ice
By Jay Edgerton and Randy Rudder with Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
Mia Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Since gliding his way into millions of homes during the 1984 Olympics, Scott Hamilton has been synonymous with figure skating. Despite his success, some recent career challenges and a battle with cancer had Scott skating on thin ice. But this Thanksgiving, he returns to the rink with Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy Hamil and others for Kaleidoscope, a national television special to support cancer research. Scott talked with me at his home in Nashville about his triumph over cancer, his new family, and his faith.
Scott Hamilton: Losing my mother to cancer put me into the cancer community. We started fundraising within a year of her passing. It changed my life forever. Having cancer myself, I realized that there are issues in this community that need to be addressed that I thought would support education and obviously the never-ending funding of research that needs to be done as well. So with Kaleidoscope, the show that is coming up with Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceutical company and their commitment to raise awareness for all kinds of women’s cancers, it’s just a thrill to be able to participate in things like this.
Evans-Saracual: How difficult was it getting back into shape?
Hamilton: It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s been a year of just trying to teach my body how to do this again, and it’s difficult. I forgot just how long it takes to accumulate the strength and the timing and the rhythm and that quickness that you need and the stamina that you need to pull this stuff off.
Evans-Saracual: When you went into retirement, you said that you felt like you had lost your significance. Do you feel like you’ve recovered that?
Hamilton: It’s like that mid-life thing. It can be really destructive or it can be really constructive. For me, it was getting married and starting a family, and I got baptized. I’ve committed myself spiritually, and I’ve really embraced that in the second half of my life.
Evans-Saracual: How has your relationship with God grown through all of this?
Hamilton: For me, I really feel like every day is a learning experience. When I told Tracie, my wife, that I had a brain tumor, she say, ‘Oh!’ or anything. She just looked at me, grabbed my hands, and started to pray. I realized that that’s the only place to go, because that’s where it all happens. It was a real strong, amazing moment in my life. I say that glass shattered will never do what it did before. But if you hold it up to the light, it can make rainbows and great beauty that it couldn’t do before. Scars are much stronger tissue than what it replaced. It will never cut there again. These are the things, when you look at them from a different angle, it gives you great strength. I guess my place in a lot of this is to say, “I’ve had a childhood illness that made me the littlest one in my class, ill health, and I got through that. I got through failing in skating. I got through the loss of my parents. I’ve gotten through broken relationships. I’ve gotten though cancer and chemotherapy and surgery. I’ve chosen to really love life like I’ve never loved it before.”
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: When Scott participated in a cancer benefit recently, his first appearance in five years, he says he wasn’t sure what to expect.
Hamilton: I never thought I’d be back there again. It was such an incredible realization that everyone there really wants to be lifted up. They want a great moment in their lives. They want to share in something that makes them feel good and more powerful and that they can actually do this. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to look at a cancer patient and say “I admire you.”
Evans-Saracual: What kind of a legacy do you want to leave behind?
Hamilton: Whatever I accumulate as far as recognition or awards, if I can inspire people to better lives--great. That would be wonderful. But ultimately, it’s how I raise my boys. Every night when my head hits the pillow, I thank Him for Tracie and for the boys. I say, “I’m giving them to You. I want them to embrace You and to live their lives by You, through You, and with You.” Every night I thank God for these boys and the life that I’ve been given.
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