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Hamilton looking forward to ninth annual event

Skater hosts cancer event in Cleveland

Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, was treated successfully for cancer more than a decade ago at the Cleveland Clinic.
Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, was treated successfully for cancer more than a decade ago at the Cleveland Clinic. (Getty Images)

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By Troy Schwindt, special to icenetwork.com
(11/04/2008) - Scott Hamilton is throwing a party on Saturday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An all-star cast is lined up to skate to the musical talents of Kenny Loggins and The Cleveland Pops Orchestra.

"I look forward to this every year," Hamilton said of the ninth annual event, titled An Evening with Scott Hamilton & Friends on Ice.

The show and black-tie gala that follows raise money for research programs at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, which is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top cancer hospitals in the country.

"It's a time to congratulate our survivors, empower our mentors in the 'Fourth Angel' program, present our doctors and celebrate life," said Hamilton, who himself is a cancer survivor.

"It's a celebration, not a remembrance. I mean, there is some sorrow, because we've lost some battles, and some horrible ones, and there's devastation anytime someone loses their battle to cancer. But what we are trying to do is create hope."

Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, was treated successfully for testicular cancer more than a decade ago at the Cleveland Clinic. Based on his experiences, he joined forces with the Cleveland hospital to create CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship).

Forged from this relationship, Hamilton helped initiate the "Fourth Angel Mentoring Program" and Chemocare.com. The "Fourth Angel" program links cancer survivors trained in peer counseling with individuals facing their own battle with cancer. Chemocare.com provides the latest information about chemotherapy, side effects and the management of side effects to patients, their families, caregivers and friends. Since 2002, the Web site has recorded more than four million visits.

Many other hospitals and health organizations throughout the country have adopted similar programs.

With "Fourth Angel" and Chemocare.com funded fully, all money raised now goes toward cancer research.

"I really feel that's where the cancer community needs the most help at this point," Hamilton, 49, said. "We need to develop treatments, try to unlock the mystery of what the cancer cell is and how it works and how we can switch it off. There are so many great ideas out there and so much great science, we just need to fund it."

Thinking outside the box when it comes to cancer research is what excites Hamilton the most.

"We are looking at different ideas, points of view and different mentalities," said Hamilton, whose CARES initiative has raised more $10 million since the program's inception in 1999. "I'm really excited about bringing new minds in and funding people who haven't been funded before, just so they can build some momentum. Until we have the big breakthrough, our work won't be done."

Hamilton's charge, he said, wouldn't be possible without a team of compassionate and professional people who share his dream. Maria Miller and Sam Miller put on Hamilton's show each year.

"I can't hug her and kiss her enough," Hamilton said of Maria Miller. "I just adore her, and Sam is a man I truly respect and admire."

Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove and the director of the Taussig Cancer Center, Dr. Derek Raghavan, are two others who continue to play instrumental roles in Hamilton's efforts. And there are many more.

Saturday night's show promises to be one to remember, with skating stars such as Evan Lysacek, Kimmie Meissner, Todd Eldredge, Mirai Nagasu and Michael Weiss, just to name a few, performing to Loggins' music.

"For four decades, this guy has been out there making great music," Hamilton said. "It's very skateable and very accessible to our core audience, and the set list we put together is really, really good."

Hamilton and good friend Kristi Yamaguchi will host the event.