Nearly a year after Ford Ice Center first opened its doors to Middle Tennessee and the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy launched at the facility, Ford Ice Center will host one of five nationwide Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer events. All of the Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer events, including Nashville’s, which is taking place on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 1:30 p.m., provide a unique opportunity for people to lace up their skates to raise money for the fight against cancer.
While two Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer events were held in Knoxville last year in preparation for the roll out of the nationwide program, this is the event’s first time in Nashville.
“Bringing Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer to Nashville, and particularly the Ford Ice Center, is really important to us because this is our home and Ford Ice Center is our home rink,” Michelle Thornbury, President of Scott Hamilton LLC, said. “Nashville is such a giving community, with people who really care about each other and do great things to better the lives of others, and we wanted to show the nation that. Our partnership with the Nashville Predators is such a perfect fit – both the Predators Foundation and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are working to make a difference to the next cancer patient and those battling cancer now. Where better to premier that than in our hometown and our home rink?”
Hamilton, himself a survivor of both a 1997 bout with testicular cancer and recoveries from two (2004, 2010) benign, non-cancerous pituitary brain tumors, first started the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The CARES Initiative in Cleveland, which still continues today, eventually led to the founding of the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.
CARES stands for Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship, the groundwork of which the Foundation stands upon in its fight to help raise awareness and funding for cancer research.
The “cancer alliance” builds partnerships with cancer-fighting institutions and groups all around the work, “research” conveys the passion the Foundation has for helping find breakthroughs for patient treatment, “education” centers around the belief that knowledge is power, and the “survivorship” component helps provide mentoring and outreach programs for people who are on their own cancer journey.
The Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer event at Ford Ice Center, along with those being hosted across the United States, serves to help further the mission of both Hamilton and the Foundation – helping patients become survivors.
Saturday’s event, which centers on the ‘peer-to-peer fundraising’ model, is an opportunity for both people who skate and people who don’t skate to get involved in the fight against cancer.
“[The fundraising model] is especially powerful in teaching kids they can make a difference in the world by having people support their skating,” Thornbury said. “We’ve had people sign up who have never been on skates, but want to come and give it a try. We have people who will just come out to enjoy the fun day, cheer on the skaters from the sidelines, enjoy food and beverages and meet Scott and take some photos.”
Supporters may donate to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation at the event on Saturday, by sponsoring a skater they know or online at www.scottcares.org.
“People know Scott as both a champion figure skater and as a champion cancer survivor who turned his cancer experience into a foundation that funds cancer research, education and survivorship,” Thornbury said. “It is a natural fit for the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy and Ford Ice Center to help host the Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer event in Nashville because of that one common denominator, Scott.
“Some people will come out to support the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and discover they enjoy skating and want to join the Academy’s Learn to Skate program. Others will come out because they love skating and discover that they can help someone fighting cancer all while doing an activity they enjoy.”
However and wherever you choose to get involved in the fight against cancer, Hamilton is both humbled and appreciative of the support.
“People care about their families, their neighbors and even complete strangers,” Hamilton said in a recent Sk8 to Elimin8 news release. “We are all in this fight together and I can’t thank the community enough for their support.”