Cancer is no stranger to Hamilton. A routine check-up late last summer confirmed the worst: the 58-year-old was diagnosed with a brain tumor for the third time.
But despite receiving the devastating news last year, the world-renown Olympic figure skater has held fast to his faith in Jesus Christ.
This benign pituitary tumor diagnosis came after Hamilton’s testicular cancer in 1997 and two previous brain tumors in 2004 and 2010.
“I have a unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illness,” the Stars on Ice cofounder told PEOPLE. “It’s six years later, and it decided that it wanted an encore.”
Hamilton consulted with specialists around the country before choosing his course of action. But despite the life-threatening diagnosis, the loyal husband and father of four remained unshaken in his faith.
But just yesterday, Hamilton broke his silence to reveal the miraculous truth even doctors can’t explain. Hamilton’s cancerous tumor hasn’t grown since his diagnosis seven months ago. Instead, the cancerous tumor has actually shrunken without chemo.
Hamilton told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview, “I kind of heard a little voice when I first got the news, to get strong, so I decided to do that,” he says. “And it was about that same time that I realized things like that love to feed on sugar, and I go, ‘I don’t really want to do anything to give it anything it wants.’ So I just decided to give up sugar. That was the end of August, and I went back at the end of November, and they scanned it again, and it hadn’t grown at all. So I stayed with the program, eliminated all the unhealthy stuff — have been getting strong — and have been pouring myself into the word, and I really tried to draw as close to the Lord as possible. I went back Feb. 10, I checked in, got my MRI done, and it actually shrunk.”
Doctors told Hamilton that he is indeed, the recipient of a miracle explainable by only one word; “God.”
Hamilton shared, “The nature of [tumors] is to grow, and without treatment, they have no reason to shrink. So I was the recipient of a spectacular miracle. I’m keeping an eye on it, and there’s no treatment needed at this time. When something like this happens, it’s unbelievable. It would be like somebody…with any form of cancer or illness, it all of a sudden goes away? What? Without treatment? That’s crazy. The doctors basically said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.’ 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.’ That’s it. Whoa. I was just a blubbering mess, like, ‘I’m not worthy of this.’ There’s so many other people out there who could benefit from this miracle.”
Despite battling cancer, Hamilton has remained a pillar of strength to his wife, Tracie, and their four children: biological sons, Aidan, 13, and Maxx, 8; Jean Paul, 15, and Evelyne, 13, whom they adopted from Haiti in 2014.
Hamilton told PEOPLE, “When this one came back, six years ago, I told Tracie — she was devastated. This time, I go, ‘Well, here we go again.’ She’s like, ‘Really, it’s back? … Okay, we’ll just deal with it.’ And that was it. My 12-year-old son … came to me, and he said, ‘Is your brain tumor back?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, it is! And here we go again.’ So I set the tone.”
Hamilton shared, “I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest imagination; I would never even think to dream the stuff that I’ve been able to do,” he says. “Last round, in 2010, I told Tracie, ‘God doesn’t owe me a day. I’m good. Whatever’s next is next.’ The blessings keep coming because we allow them and we ask for them.”
In addition to the many health trials he has faced, what many don’t know is that for Hamilton, cancer is only the tip of the iceberg.
Born on August 28, 1958, Hamilton was adopted by Dorothy and Ernest S. Hamilton at six weeks of age. When Scott was two years old he contracted a mysterious illness that caused him to stop growing.
After countless tests, dozens of failed treatment plans, and multiple wrong diagnoses (including a misdiagnosis of cystic fibrosis that gave him just “six months to live”), the disease miraculously began to correct itself. It was later discovered that a brain tumor was the cause of his stunted growth throughout childhood.
It didn’t take long after his recovery that Hamilton fell in love with ice skating. And even at a young age, Scott skated with confidence and speed. At just thirteen, Hamilton began training with former Olympic champion Pierre Brunet.
Hamilton shared, “I was too small to be good at any other sport. On the ball field, I was always the last one chosen. Skating, though, was different. I didn’t have to be bigger or stronger or faster. Just myself. By middle school, I was winning events and gearing up for the Junior Nationals. Mom was very involved, always looking out for my best interests. ‘You can be as good as you want,’ she said. ‘If you make the commitment, we’ll make the commitment with you.'”
But as his skating continued to improve, Hamilton’s life took a devastating hit. When Scott was only 15-years-old, his mother Dorothy (who was undoubtedly his biggest cheerleader) was diagnosed with breast cancer. Amidst chemotherapy, Dorothy was determined to pitch in and help. Mrs. Hamilton sacrificed everything–even going back to school to become a college professor– to help fund Scott’s expensive training. Tragically, Dorothy Hamilton passed away just days before Scott’s 19th birthday.
Scott shared, “The day Mom died I went for a long walk. I was angry and feeling sorry for myself. My prayers were all complaints: ‘God, why did you do this to me? I’m too young to lose my mother.’ What was I going to do now? How could I go on? But then I thought about how Mom dealt with her cancer. She never complained. She never gave up. Instead, she made the most of every minute God gave her. Wasn’t that a challenge I had to take up now?”
Scott was devastated beyond belief and struggled to pick up the pieces. But in the middle of his unimaginable grief, God sent two angels who would later prove to change the trajectory of his life forever. Helen and Frank McLoraine were the two instruments God used to fund Scott’s training.
Honoring his mother is what propelled Scott to be the best he could be. Armed with his faith and his mother’s encouragement, Hamilton grew determined to become a world champion.
Hamilton shared, “The first thing after Mom’s funeral, my coach called to express his sympathy. ‘Carlo,’ I said, ‘I want you to know that a different person is coming back to you to train. He is going to be totally dedicated to being the best he can be.’ Carlo was skeptical. But from then on, it was like Mom was still urging me on. I went to bed early. I ate properly. I didn’t waste a moment on the ice. There was no quit in me. I worked till I got things right. Four hours a day on compulsory figures. Two hours a day on my free skate. Weightlifting two or three times a week.”
And despite the negative advice from skating judges who told him he was “too small to compete at the international level,” Hamilton succeeded. At the peak of his amateur career, Hamilton weighed just 108 pounds and was only 5 feet 2.5 inches tall (he eventually grew to a height of 5 feet 4 inches.)
In 1980, young Hamilton went on to finish third at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. At the 1980 Winter Olympics, Hamilton placed fifth– this proved to be the only time he lost first place.
Hamilton’s emotional and near-perfect performance at the 1981 U.S. Championships earned him a gold medal and a standing ovation for the last several seconds of his performance. For the next three consecutive years, Hamilton won gold at each years’ World Figure Skating Championships and at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Hamilton went on to turn professional in April 1984.
His mother’s legacy is what inspires him to make a difference in the lives of others. But not only has Hamilton inspired thousands with his motivational speaking engagements, he’s also pushed for cancer research, education and survivorship with the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.
Scott shared, “I choose to truly — in everything that we do — celebrate life. I take my mother with me wherever I go. I lost her almost 40 years ago, and she’s with me all the time. Yes, I mourn her, but I mourn her in a way that I’m inspired to make a difference so the next 18-year-old kid doesn’t have to feel that devastation of losing their mother. And that’s what keeps me going.”
Much like a skating coach, Scott says that he’s learned to trust his “almighty Coach.”
“My faith plays an incredible role in being grounded, being able to let go of all the things that have held me back,” Scott said. “With all I’ve faced, I’ve had to let go and move forward. My relationship with God helps me with that. My faith in God was always lifting me to new heights I never could have reached on my own,” Scott said.
Watch Scott Hamilton’s powerful testimony as he shares his unashamed faith in Jesus Christ:
Scott Hamilton won 16 consecutive national and world championships, was inducted in both US Olympics and World Figure Skating Hall of Fames, and cemented superstar status by creating and touring with Stars On Ice.
But despite his unparalleled success, Hamilton gives all the glory to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“The first thing I teach skaters at my skating academy is how to get up — because we’re going to fall,” Hamilton says. “And that’s how I live my life: I’m going to fall down, I’m going to make mistakes, I’m going to do all kinds of things that I’m going to wish didn’t happen. But it’s what’s next — it’s how you get up … The more times you get up, the stronger you are to face the next thing, which will happen — because that’s life. My faith in God was always lifting me to new heights I never could have reached on my own.“
“This brain tumor has given me a lot more than it has taken away. There are no accidents. Worry will not add one hour to my life, as it says in the Good Book. I want to love every minute of my life. I’m not going to allow anything to throw me off. Through a strong relationship with Jesus, you can endure anything. The only true disability in life is a bad attitude. God is there to guide you through the tough spots. God is there every single time. Every single time.” – Scott Hamilton
While I was listening to Scott’s unimaginable journey, I couldn’t help but think of Jeremiah 17:7 which reads,
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”
Praise God for His miraculous healing ways! Thank you Scott Hamilton, for reminding the world of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Your unashamed and unwavering faith is an inspiring example to us all. The world needs more Christians like Scott Hamilton! Please share if you agree.