The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation — making tomorrow better
Hamilton also founded his non-profit Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation with a goal to make the world better for the next cancer survivor by changing the face and identify of cancer.
The organization raises money for cancer research, including through Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer, a nationwide signature fundraising platform in partnership with U.S. Figure Skating and hundreds of clubs and ice facilities nationwide.
“CARES funds research to turn cancer upside down. We want to help create therapies that treat the cancer and spare the patient harm, whatever that is — including research that builds targeted therapies, like immunotherapy on the chemo or medical side, and, on the radiation side, broadening the use and understanding of proton therapy,” Hamilton explains.
“I’m not a big fan of chemo, even though I had it and I’m here 21 years later because I had it,” he adds. “But my mission with CARES is to replace it with something less toxic and better. I think we’ve learned a lot about how our bodies work and we’ve learned what our immune system is capable of doing through immunotherapy if we retrain it in fighting cancer.”
To that end, the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation teamed up with the V Foundation to fund pediatric immuno-oncology research at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Specifically, scientists will use the grant to explore immunotherapy (which uses the immune system to kill cancer cells) for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor that occurs in children.
Immunotherapy is recognized to be a power way to treat cancer — but it only works for certain patients. The research funded by the CARES grant will help researchers in their search to find ways to make tumor cells more responsive to immunotherapy, making it even more effective in treating malignancies.
“The promise of immunotherapy is very exciting,” Hamilton says. “The fact is, right now our bodies are recognizing, destroying, and discarding mutant cells. The grant will help researchers learn and understand what makes cancer cells trick the body, so the immune system doesn’t recognize and get rid of them. And, once we identify that ‘coding,’ that cell membrane that resists the immune system, then it’s game over for cancer.”
Encouraging cancer patients to stay in the game
While Scott Hamilton and his CARES initiatives look toward the future of cancer treatments, he offers advice to those currently fighting the disease.
“If you are going through chemo now, remain as active as you can — get the blood pumping whether running, walking, doing yoga. It will help the treatment work even better than if you are sedentary,” he says.
“You know, there’s never a situation to just stop. Hydrate property and keep moving as best you can,” he adds. “There’s always something out there that will
help you feel better, recover better and help you have a better quality of life post cancer.”