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EXCLUSIVE: Scott Hamilton Refuses to Let Third Brain Tumor Diagnosis Keep Him From Enjoying Life

by Raphael Chestang 3:56 PM PST, November 09, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Scott Hamilton Refuses to Let Third Brain Tumor Diagnosis Keep Him From Enjoying Life

After battling a brain tumor twice before, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton has been diagnosed with a tumor for a third time, and he opened up about his fight with ET.

"I guess this little guy is going to come back every six years," Hamilton says.

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The iconic ice skater previously battled brain tumors in 2004 and 2010. Prior to that, he overcame testicular cancer in 1997.

"A pattern has emerged," Hamilton, 58, says. "Ultimately, this changes the way I approach treatment, but I have got time because I caught it early. Usually after surgery they stay away, but this one has decided to come back and we will figure it out."

Doctors made the diagnosis -- a benign pituitary tumor -- during a routine check-up. While the tumor is not malignant and was caught before any symptoms became present, it can still be dangerous because of its location on his brain, so he is currently figuring out his plan of attack.

One way he is fighting back is by staying positive and setting an uplifting tone for his wife, Tracie, and their four children, Evelyne, Maxx, Aidan and Jean Paul. Hamilton said his positive vibes come from the example set by his mother, whom he lost to breast cancer in 1977 when he was 18.

"When my kids asked, 'Do you have a brain tumor?' I go, 'Yeah, I do! It's OK. I got this,'" Hamilton shares. "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 -- whether it's this or anything I've had in the past -- throw me off enjoying myself."

Of course, one of the things Hamilton enjoys most is skating, and he actually credits his tumors with allowing him to rediscover his love of the sport.

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"This brain tumor has given me a lot more than it has taken away," he insists. "This is a brain tumor I was born with. Without it I wouldn't have been in and out of hospitals for four years. Without this my parents wouldn't have been so exhausted that they needed to give me a morning off, and the morning off they chose was a skating rink. There are no accidents."

And Hamilton said it "would be great" if he can skate through his treatments.

"When I learned of this diagnosis, two things came to my mind. I have to draw closer to God and I have to get physically strong," Hamilton notes. "And I have been doing both."

Outside of his family, Hamilton has been touching the hearts of thousands through motivational speaking engagements and his Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, which raises funds for cancer research and provides support and resources to cancer patients.

"The Cares Foundation started out here in Cleveland as a Cares Initiative. What I wanted to do was thank the Cleveland clinic for giving me my life back," Hamilton explains. "But I knew that there were gaping holes in the cancer community. I went online to find out what I needed to know about testicular cancer and all I found were medical journal papers with 12-syllable words, five to a sentence ... So we created ChemoCare.com, which is everything you need to know about chemo therapy in 8th grade English and Spanish. Every drug is listed. Every side effect is listed. It's an amazing accomplishment. Its sister side is RadCare.org, which is everything about radiation therapy."

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On Nov. 20, Sheryl Crow, Sara Evans, Ben Rector and Jewel will join Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi and a dozen of the world's greatest figure skaters at "An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends" in Nashville, Tennessee, in order to celebrate life while raising money to fight cancer.

"I don't think anyone has ever seen anything like this," Hamilton said of the event. "It's so good, it's indescribable."

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