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Issue of October 22, 2014

A hope note
A hope note
Dr. Wayne Willis reflects on life and hope.

Attitude is everything

June 04, 2014 | 11:29 AM

He was adopted when he was 6 weeks old. At age 2, he came down with a mysterious mal-absorption syndrome that caused him to stop growing for several years.

Scott Hamilton's life took a turn for the better when he discovered ice skating. He loved hockey but preferred figure skating. Compensating for his small frame (5 feet, 2 inches tall), he competed with Herculean energy and determination. He won four consecutive national and world titles and then, in 1984, the Olympic gold medal.

In 1997, Hamilton was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Years after recovering from that, he came down with a brain tumor that was surgically removed. An artery was nicked during that procedure and physicians had to use another procedure to remove an aneurysm. One side effect of the whole ordeal was the loss of two-thirds of the vision in his right eye.

At 57, Scott Hamilton lives in Franklin, Tenn., with his wife and two children. He runs the Scott Hamilton CARES program that shares online information about chemotherapy and provides one-on-one mentorship for cancer patients. He works as a volunteer with Special Olympics. In 2009, he published "The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to Be Miserable)." The "eight" are his eight principles of living positively.

Two things I heard him say in interviews I wrote down and memorized as soon as I heard them. Coming from him, I thought, made them "keepers." Once, when he was being interviewed, someone used the cliché about seeing the glass half empty or half full, and Hamilton interrupted: "As long as you are alive and kicking, as long as you have another day, you have a full glass."

The second insight is like the first: "The only disability in life is a bad attitude."

Dr. Wayne Willis

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email