Scott Hamilton

Olympian Scott Hamilton will be the keynote speaker at CrossNet Ministries annual banquet, March 31 and April 1.

Scott Hamilton is an Olympic gold medalist, a four-time world and national figure skating champion and a cancer survivor.

On March 31 and April 1, he will share how his successes and struggles led to a strong faith in God during the CrossNet Ministries Banquet at Shady Maple Banquet Center.

Hamilton believes in an all-powerful God.

“We’re never really alone,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “God is with us and gives us strength to rise above challenges.”

Hamilton was born in 1958 and adopted by Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton weeks after his birth. At the age of 2, he contracted an illness that hindered his growth.

He was introduced to skating at age 9 and by 11 was competing in regional events. He had the strong support of his mother, who encouraged him to be a good skater, perhaps even become an Olympian one day.

In 1977, three years before he made the U.S Olympic team, he lost his mother to breast cancer. It was a turning point.

“I adored my mother,” he said. “To honor her, I became serious about my skating.”

He earned a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team by placing third in the U.S. national championships. He finished fifth that year in the Lake Placid Olympics.

World champion

He used that event as a stepping stone. From 1981 to 1984, he was unbeatable, winning four consecutive U.S. and World championships. He concluded his amateur career by winning the gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

He followed that by winning world professional titles and establishing “Stars on Ice,” a professional touring ice skating company. He was honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union and was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1990.

But in 1997, 20 years after his mother’s death, success took a backseat when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 38. After months of chemotherapy, Hamilton returned to skating.

‘Powerful moment’

Then, in 2004, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. When he told his wife, Tracie, she took his hands and prayed.

“It was,” he said, “the most powerful moment in my life.”

He said he had a sudden “profound awakening” to the presence of God. It gave him peace to know he was going to be OK.

In 2010, a second brain tumor surgery was done. When a third brain tumor was discovered three years ago, Hamilton prayed, without ceasing, for it to go away. His prayers were answered as radiation shrank the tumor.

In 2014, he established Scott Hamilton CARES — Cancer Alliance for Research Education and Survivorship — a foundation dedicated to changing the future of cancer by funding advanced, innovative research that treats the cancer while sparing the patient.

Now 61, Hamilton jokes that people will remember him more for his cancer than his skating. But, he said, he would rather be remembered as a good father and husband with faith in God.

“I’d like the CrossNet audience to take away that we are all God’s people who need to be compassionate in our support of one another and live in hope and faith,” he said.

He and Tracie live in Brentwood, Tennessee, with sons, Aidan, 16, Maxx, 12, and adopted son and daughter, Jean Paul, 18, and Evelyne, 16.

Additional testimony

The banquet will include a testimony from Shelby Zimmerman, a single mother who was the first recipient of the CrossNet Pathways to Housing initiative to provide safe, affordable housing for those facing homelessness. There also will be a ministry update.

Last year more than 1,500 people attended the event and raised nearly $200,000. CrossNet Ministries, based in New Holland, offers help and hope in the name of Jesus Christ to youth and adults in the Eastern Lancaster County community.

“We believe CrossNet Ministries is the community coming together from different sectors to partner and collaborate to make a difference,” said Executive Director Meredith Dahl. “As we work together, with different voices and perspectives, we’re able to accomplish more to meet needs and build relationships.”