Editorial

Hamilton shared important message at gala

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Scott Hamilton, the famous gold medalist ice skater, estimates he has fallen 41,000 times. That's a lot of getting back up.

Hamilton was the guest speaker at SoutheastHEALTH Foundation's third annual Journey Gala at the Drury Plaza Conference Center in Cape Girardeau earlier this month.

He arrived, ironically enough, in some winter weather, including patches of ice. But he ended up being one of the more inspiring aspects of the event. A man who has fallen more than 40,000 times knows something about perseverance, and that's the message that resonates with his approach to cancer. He has been dealing with cancer for decades, beginning with his mother. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. And he also had brain tumors.

But none of those were reasons to quit, he said, as reported by Joshua Hartwig.

" ... I fell into what I thought was depression. I tell men all the time, 'Women are really good about their health.' Men, we need to be really vigilant on our health. The earlier you get to something, the easier it is to deal with it."

And men have "got to do better," he said.

Hamilton climbed back into skating at the age of 51, just to see whether he could do it, he said.

"I started to go back to a gymnastic studio, learning the movement of doing a backflip again," Hamilton said. "I had two weeks before I was going to do this big comeback show."

He did the comeback show, but fell during the routine. He bounced back on his skates, as he's always done, then managed his signature back flip at the age of 51.

Sometimes, he said, the things that knock people down, are important.

"It's about the getting up. You get up, no matter what it is. ... "Once you're able to build that muscle in your character, nothing can defeat you. Nothing."

The gala is a special event, one of three in the community, that raises hundreds of thousands to help people and their families as they face a cancer diagnosis. This gala raised $250,000 for cancer patients The money is critical to helping patients with lodging and other expenses during their life-altering treatment. But people such as Hamilton are important, too. He reminds us life is not fair; in fact it can be and will be cruel at times. Recovery from those hardships can make us more determined and resolved to be better people.

We thank those involved in fighting cancer on all fronts, from organizing galas to raise money, to inspiring others during their weakest moments.

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