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Scott Hamilton: “That this will take a lot of time, so I should be patient”

Millions of people have used Chemocare.com for much needed information about chemo and how to best navigate it. We also created a mentorship program called “4th Angel” that pairs newly diagnosed patients with survivors. 4th Angel also serves to match caregivers and pediatric caregivers. I met a woman whose husband was going through a rare […]

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Millions of people have used Chemocare.com for much needed information about chemo and how to best navigate it. We also created a mentorship program called “4th Angel” that pairs newly diagnosed patients with survivors. 4th Angel also serves to match caregivers and pediatric caregivers. I met a woman whose husband was going through a rare brain cancer. She was paired with another caregiver whose wife was going through the same brain cancer. Both spouses lost their battles. Through that, their caregiver 4th Angels built a relationship in their grief. They are now husband and wife.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Hamilton. Scott Hamilton captured the attention of the world with his Olympic Gold medal performances in Saravejo in 1984. Since then, he has shared his love and enthusiasm for the sport as an analyst, performer, producer and best-selling author (Landing It, 1999; The Great Eight, 2009 and his newest, Finish First: Winning Changes Everything, released in February 2018). He further inspires others as a speaker, humanitarian, and as a cancer and pituitary brain tumor survivor. Scott currently heads the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) and the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy. In what little free time remains, Scott can be found on the golf course and enjoys spending time with his wife Tracie and four children — at their home outside Nashville, Tennessee.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Scott! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

We all can bring who we are and what we have to make a difference in the community. My platform is skating and the skating community. I have met and known countless people in my skating community that have been impacted by cancer.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

I don’t believe in accidents or coincidence. Throughout my journey there have been many people I admire that have found their way to me and my cancer organization, CARES. My executive Director Karri Morgan has been a member of my family since we met in Memphis when she was running Target House at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I always thought she would make an incredible partner in my goals to fight this disease. It “just so happened” that she was totally available when CARES became a dedicated foundation in need of a leader. And that was around the time Nadia Kogeler invented Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer. Our peer to peer fundraising platform to fund research.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

CARES, when it was an initiative at The Cleveland Clinic, had a great idea to build a website that only contained information about chemotherapy. At the time the only way for a patient to get information through the internet took them to medical journal sites that were difficult to understand. When building ChemoCare.Com, we realized that we would need a lot of money to build a website that easy to understand, while presenting complex information. I became the “organ grinder’s monkey” and hit the streets for 5 years to pay for this website. Looking back, I am sure I could find a better way to do it.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

We are raising desperately needed funds to elevate research in the area of immunotherapy. We feel that immunotherapy is the best way to treat cancer. For a while, I thought it might seem naive to think that we could teach the body that created the cancer to now be able to recognize and destroy it — without any impact on the rest of the body. In my heart I know this is the “silver bullet” to cure cancer.

Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?

Millions of people have used Chemocare.com for much needed information about chemo and how to best navigate it. We also created a mentorship program called “4th Angel” that pairs newly diagnosed patients with survivors. 4th Angel also serves to match caregivers and pediatric caregivers. I met a woman whose husband was going through a rare brain cancer. She was paired with another caregiver whose wife was going through the same brain cancer. Both spouses lost their battles. Through that, their caregiver 4th Angels built a relationship in their grief. They are now husband and wife.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Cancer impacts everyone as the #1 cause of death in our country. 1 out of 2 men will be diagnosed. 1 out of 3 women will face a cancer diagnosis. This is the biggest health issue facing our world. Much needed funds must be invested for collaborative science. The healthcare industry needs to become more accessible to the people they serve. The current model doesn’t work for the patient, but there are a lot of people making a lot of money. Changing the way a broken system is financed is simply dealing with cobwebs, instead of looking after the spider. Healthcare needs to be allowed to do its work without all the massive, unnecessary expenses created to line pockets. Also, regulating the income-over-expenses model from which “nonprofit” insurance companies benefit would be a great first step. The 2nd step would be to make sure that anything covered by Medicare is covered by every insurance company without the hassles created by “denials”.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is creating an environment where everyone can succeed. A great leader gives proper amounts of responsibility to those they lead to not only ensure success, but to also grow their abilities to take on more responsibilities to grow the organization.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) Make sure you share your goals with everyone you meet in the hopes that they can help in some way.

2) That this will take a lot of time, so I should be patient.

3) There will be “naysayers” everywhere you turn. Don’t let them pull you away from your path.

4) Be bold and take chances. Great change can’t be accomplished without a healthy amount of responsible risk.

5) Asking people for money isn’t a bad thing. To make important changes in our world that we all need in our lives, a healthy investment is needed to be shared by everyone.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Cancer is my main cause. It is an entity that has destroyed too many families and is growing way too fast. I think reorganizing the way cancer research is funded and creating a truly collaborative research “society” would allow for greater advancement and lessen the temptation of someone absolutely “owning” the breakthrough. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the power of competition and our free enterprise economy. It would be a shame to keep the silos going that allow those to enrich themselves at the expense of bringing treatments to market more quickly.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I was going through my cancer battle in 1997, I was quoted as saying “The only true disability in life is a bad attitude”. I still believe that, but what I’m finding truly more relevant in my life now, was a quote I heard around the 1980 Olympics spoken by Eric Heiden, who said “It’s not the events in your life that reveal your character. It’s how you deal with them that matters.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

My first choice would be my wife. We have four kids (18, 15, 15, and 11). It seems that our ability to have lunch has been challenged by the needs of our children.

But in all honesty, I would say James P. Allison who last year won the Nobel Prize for medicine for his work in cancer immunotherapy research.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter — @scotthamilton84

Facebook — @scotthamilton1984

Instagram — @scotthamilton84

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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