DES MOINES, Iowa -- Olympic gold medalist, figure skater, and cancer survivor Scott Hamilton visited Des Moines on Saturday to speak at the Rally Against Cancer and tour the John Stoddard Cancer Center.
“When I come to towns to help raise money for cancer, I like to come to the hospitals and tour and see the culture and the different cancer centers around the country," Hamilton said. "It’s always great to meet the patients. I was in one of those beds, more than once and it’s really nice to share somebody’s day."
Hamilton said during his battle with cancer, he was inspired to help others know exactly how chemotherapy works and remind patients they’re not alone.
One patient he visited with is Nancy Cayler.
Cayler started treatment for leukemia in 2016, and just when she thought she was out of the rough, she found out she relapsed and is back for more treatment.
“The relapse has probably been a little harder emotionally than what the original diagnosis was. Going into it the first time you don’t know what to expect and going into it the second time you don’t know what is ahead,” Cayler said.
Cayler said meeting another survivor like Hamilton is uplifting, especially because she loved ice skating as a young girl.
“I always enjoyed ice skating. I liked the feel of it. I don’t know what it was about the ice that just made you so free and kind of like you’re flying. And I will love the book and this will be an inspiration to me forever,” Cayler said.
Hamilton dropped off a copy of his new book Finish First to every patient he saw on Saturday. He also said it’s important to have faith.
“I’ve lived long enough and been through enough to know that this, too, shall pass. And it’s keeping people saying, 'I think you’re going to be just fine. I just feel it. There is just something about right here right now, I just feel it you’re going to be great.' It’s good to hear those words.”
Cayler said attitude, optimism, and prayer are what keep her going.
“Now you’re here and fighting for your life and it’s always nice to be given a little wind in our sails, be given a ray sunshine and some optimism and hope from somebody that’s been there done that,” Hamilton said.