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Figure Skating Legend Scott Hamilton Says 1st Brain Tumor ‘Ignited My Faith’

Figure Skating Legend Scott Hamilton Says 1st Brain Tumor Ignited My Faith
Scott Hamilton Jerod Harris/Getty Images for the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Figure skating legend Scott Hamilton has had his share of health scares over the years, including three brain tumors and a battle with testicular cancer.

He says his faith has helped him through it all.

Hamilton, 65, appeared on The Jennifer Hudson Show on Thursday, April 18, and reflected on the challenges he’s faced, from his competition days to now.

The Olympian, who took home the gold in the men’s singles event at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1997. He then faced three benign pituitary tumors over the next 19 years.

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“It just ignited my faith,” Hamilton said of the first tumor, which doctors found in 2004 and say he has had since birth. “It just was one of those things — I told my wife, without skipping a beat, she just took my hands and started to pray.”

“And it was the most powerful … I’ve had a lot of big moments, that was probably the biggest,” he added.

Figure Skating Legend Scott Hamilton Says 1st Brain Tumor Ignited My Faith 2
Scott Hamilton David Madison/Getty Images

Hamilton dealt with subsequent tumor diagnoses in 2010 and 2016, keeping him in and out of surgery over the years in between.

“And then six years later it came back, and there was a surgery that didn’t go quite as planned, which turned into nine surgeries,” he continued. “And then six years later — there’s a pattern emerging here — I came back again and this time I just felt. … They’re giving me a surgical option and a medical option and I was like, all I felt in the back of my head was, get strong. That was it. Just get strong.”

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Hamilton opting to “get strong” meant eschewing chemotherapy or additional surgery, a decision he credits to an inner calling.

“I didn’t know if it was physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual,” he told E! News in March. “So I did what I did in high school: I chose ‘all the above.’”

Even without treatment, the tumor eventually shrunk by 45 percent. Since then, however, it has grown again, and Hamilton is keeping radiation as an option if his doctors determine he needs it.

“I’ve never been stronger in my faith,” he added. “I’ve never been stronger emotionally or intellectually.”

Now retired, Hamilton is spending his time raising awareness for cancer research, saying that he’s “optimistic” that in his lifetime, all cancers will be survivable.

“Cancer is something that touches us all,” he said. “It’s a horrible disease, but there’s hope. The science is way up here and the funding is still down here, and as soon as we can close the gap, millions of lives will be saved.”

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